ATASCADERO — Wednesday night, Atascadero resident Rebecca Berg made an appearance on the popular national game show Wheel Of Fortune and proceeded to decimate her competition, winning the game and bringing home more than $67k in the process.
Berg, who works as a bookkeeper, developed her love of word games at a young age while playing with her grandparents.
“My grandparents used to watch it a lot, and I used to go over to their house all the time and watch it with them,” Berg told the Atascadero News. “My grandfather passed away when I was 17, so it is kind of a bittersweet memory of the good times I had with my grandparents.”
After decades of following along at home, Berg finally decided it was time to put her knowledge to the test and submit an application. With her husband Troy’s help, she created a 20-second submission video and sent it in. Not long after, she was invited back for a round of questioning and was notified that she had earned a spot on the fabled Wheel of Fortune.
Once the bright lights came on, Berg was nearly unstoppable, solving all but two puzzles in the show’s 30-minute duration.
Wheel of Fortune starts quickly with two “toss-up” puzzles worth $1k each, and the Atascadero local wasted no time winning both. Hiding behind her radiant smile and glowing personality, she began her gentle annihilation of the competition.
Following the first two puzzles, Berg was finally able to spin the show’s iconic wheel, with the next category being “song lyrics.” After a few spins, the puzzle began to take shape, but then disaster struck as her spin landed on the bankrupt wedge and brought her winnings back down to zero.
“I actually knew the answer,” Berg said. “But you are only on the Wheel of Fortune once, so I wanted to keep spinning and guessing letters. I knew that there were three ‘r’s and really wanted those, but then I landed on the ‘bankrupt.’ So, I was mad right off the bat, but at the same time, that is why you play the game, it was all fun.”
Berg would have one more misstep in her next puzzle, and then it was all over for her two fellow competitors. With her confidence growing each passing moment, Berg answered the game’s last five puzzles, winning a trip to Costa Rica and $67,350 in the process.
Heading into the “Triple Toss-Up” round, Berg trailed her opponent Erica $14,049 to $12,950.
“I actually don’t like what they call the ‘toss-ups,’ when I am playing on the couch, but those were what I was best at that night.”
Berg shined even brighter with the pressure on, answering each of the three toss-up puzzles before her opponents even had a chance to ring in. Heading into the final round, her winnings total sat at $22,350.
In the final round, she relied on her experience and all those evenings sitting with her grandparents, and in return, it brought her an additional $45k.
“In the bonus round, I knew it was a local shop [category name], but I didn’t know the middle word. I just guessed my normal go-to letters that I use when I am playing at home, and thankfully that worked.”
Berg solved the final puzzle, which was “local hobby shop,” and the celebration began as the joyful dings and bings of the game show world alerted everyone that a champion had been crowned.
“It was such a surreal experience,” she said. “Standing next to Patt [Sajak], winning. It was the fastest 30 minutes of my life.”