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Floyd County

November 10, 2013

LOCAL TWINS TAKE A SPIN: ‘Wheel of Fortune’ appearance two lifetimes in the making

CLARKSVILLE — If you’re not a fan of television spoilers, you may not want to read this article.

But then you’d be missing out on the tale of a pair of twins, Kristina Quiroga, Clarksville, and Kathy Spelmachoske, Henryville, who saw their dreams come true during a trip to Culver City, Calif., in September.

Quiroga and Spelmachoske, 43, will appear on the “Wheel of Fortune” Monday. And here’s the big spoiler: They’ll be appearing in the bonus round, reserved for the contestants who best their opponents during the first part of the show.

“We’ve been watching for 30 years,” Spelmachoske said. “We love ‘Wheel of Fortune.’ We always talked about being on the show, and when they came close enough for us to do an audition, we seized the opportunity and it paid off big-time!”

The twins had more than a year to prepare for their appearance on the show after beating out 500 other candidates to become contestants. The journey to Culver City started with an open audition at the Louisville Zoo on the weekend of Mother’s Day 2012. After Spelmachoske’s name was drawn out of a barrel, the pair were invited to another audition event at the Brown Hotel two weeks later. With about 100 other candidates present, the two took a test that got them through a cut that saw just 30 go on to become contestants.

“It was just puzzle solving. It was just words on a page, like phrases,” Quiroga said. “Half the letters were blank and you had to fill them in. They graded it, came back and both of us made the cut.”

The pair found out in a letter another two weeks later that they were going to be on an upcoming Family Week edition of “Wheel of Fortune,” but they’d have to wait more than a year for the trip to California to play the game. They knew they’d be ready.

“We’ve actually been preparing our whole life,” Spelmachoske said. “We’ve been playing ‘Wheel of Fortune’ for 30 years. We remember the original host, Chuck Woolery, and you had to actually buy merchandise and prizes.”

The call finally came in September. With anticipation mounting for more than two weeks, the twins finally arrived in Culver City on Sept. 18, with the taping taking place the following day. They were at the set for about five of the fastest hours of their lives.

“It was a whirlwind. We hugged Vanna White twice, and we couldn’t tell you what color dress she was wearing,” Spelmachoske said. “It was an out-of-body experience, very surreal.”

The twins aren’t allowed to disclose what they won on the show, but the world will find out Monday, when the episode airs at 7 p.m. on WLKY. The twins are holding a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Clarksville from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, with 10 percent of the food sales going to Life Improvement Counseling Center in Jeffersonville, where it will go to benefit local needy families.

“We’re actually anxious to see ourselves because it went by so fast,” Quiroga said. “We couldn’t tell you a lot of things that happened.”

But they’re going to try. The pair plan to write a book about the experience.

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