Wheel of Fortune contestant Ilene Knebel was the first competitor of the 39th season to trigger the confetti and win an additional $100,000. Not surprisingly, Knebel’s victory left her speechless, and hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White were there to help her celebrate the legendary moment.
Prior to the Bonus Round, Knebel earned herself $12,000 as well as a Caribbean vacation. She settled on “Around the House” for her category which can be pretty difficult, considering how many variations of household products there are. But luckily for Knebel, she picked the right letters that helped her fill in many of the gaps in the answer.
Once Sajak announced the start of the timer, she called out the answer with confidence: “Quilted Bedspread.”
Sure enough, Knebel solved the puzzle and brought her total to $112,000. Not bad for someone who has waited 30 years to be on Wheel of Fortune.
“You know, when you go to the Caribbean, you’re gonna be a big tipper,” Sajak said as he revealed her $100,000 bonus prize.
When letter-turner Vanna White congratulated Knebel on her huge win, Sajak added, “She’s not talking right now. She’s just screaming into her hands.”
Oddly enough, after the show went to commercial, the Wheel of Fortune winner asked to help with the clean-up.
“The first thing she said when the confetti came down, she said, ‘Where’s the broom? I want to clean up,” Sajak said.
And so, Knebel happily took the push broom from the Wheel of Fortune host and got to work with strings of confetti still wrapped around her shoulders.
‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant Wins Trip to Mexico
Earlier in today’s episode of Wheel of Fortune, Knebel explained that she was a longtime fan of the show and has applied to be a contestant for decades. A Beverly Hills worker, Knebel spends much of her time providing for the community as a Girl Scout mentor, Elks Lodge volunteer and a grocery deliverer. With three adult children and a husband of over 20 years, it’s easy to see why Knebel and her family would need a getaway, and thankfully, she earned one by solving the Prize Puzzle.
Prior to the Prize Puzzle Round, Knebel was trailing in third place with just $1,000 in her Wheel of Fortune bank. After she and her competitors worked out the first word of the answer, though, she managed to solve the puzzle: “Entertainment for All Ages.”
And, indeed, her trip would definitely provide this. Now Knebel and her husband could travel to the Paradisus Playa del Carmen in Mexico for a winter vacation. The puzzle also gave the Wheel of Fortune contestant the boost in money that she needed to claim first place and head into the Bonus Round.