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Fargo 'Wheel' watcher gets his spin

Bryan Shinn

After 20 years watching the show, a Fargo man gets his chance to spin the "Wheel of Fortune" on Friday.

Bryan Shinn found out late last week that he would be a contestant on the popular game show. While the episode tapes in Los Angeles on Friday, the show won't be broadcast until the week of Oct. 25.

It's worth the wait for Shinn, who was among the more than 3,500 who attended tryouts at the Urban Plains Center in June. His name was finally called at the end of the second day of auditions, and Shinn got a chance to make a joke and sing a bit of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."

"We're looking for energy, people having fun and good players," said Suzy Rosenberg, executive director of publicity for the show during the Fargo auditions.

Shinn got the call last Friday asking if he could be on this week and "just about hit the floor," Shinn says.

"It's just been whirling ... kind of crazy around here," he adds. "('Wheel of Fortune') is kind of a big deal in our house."

The family - wife Pam, son Danny and daughter Ashley - flies to Los Angeles today. They return to Fargo Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to giving it my best shot," he says, adding he has set a goal to walk away with $50,000 in cash and prizes.

"That would make me happy," says Shinn, a sales representative at Agweek, a property of Forum Communications Co., which also publishes The Forum.

Shinn already has a game plan; call smart letters, start off with an "R" and buy vowels.

He's also looking forward to meeting the show's longtime stars, host Pat Sajak and letter-turner Vanna White.

"Vanna's hot, no doubt about that," Shinn says. "But after years of watching Pat Sajak, I feel like I know the guy."