CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "Wheel of Fortune" fans poured into the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort bright and early Sunday morning for their chance to be a contestant on the popular television game show.
The "Wheel of Fortune" "Wheel Mobile" -- a 39-foot Winnebago that tours nationwide in search of contests for the television game show -- drew a huge crowd during its first stop ever in West Virginia. The first man to show up for auditions got to the casino at 7:30 a.m. for a 2 p.m. audition, Bob Lagg, general manager of the casino, said.
Between 700 and 750 people showed up for the first audition. All three rounds of Sunday's auditions were held in a tent outside the casino.
Lagg said the game show had originally wanted to be in Charleston but chose the Nitro casino because the circus was at the Civic Center this weekend.
"I guess we were the bridesmaid," Lagg said.
Still, Lagg said having "Wheel of Fortune" at the casino has been great exposure for the facility and the Kanawha Valley.
"My guess is that a lot of [those trying out] haven't been here before," Lagg said. "It's great exposure for Charleston and the surrounding area and with any luck they'll gamble with us. My guess is they came for Wheel but maybe they'll come back."
Lagg said there were more vehicles than usual with out-of-state licenses plates in the parking lot. That would hint that people have come from long distances to try out for the show, he said.
"The Wheel is America's most popular game and we get to show off West Virginia's greatest asset, which is the hospitality of its people."
Although Pat Sajak and Vanna White were not at Sunday's auditions, contestants were excited for a chance to get on stage with traveling host Marty Lublin.