Paducah Native Wins Cash on 'Wheel of Fortune'
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH - A Paducah native won more than $15,000 on the "Wheel of Fortune" game show this week.

Barton Christmas came in second place on the episode that aired on Friday.

Christmas graduated from McCracken County High School in 2017 and is currently attending Vanderbilt University.

He said his uncle learned in December that the "WheelMobile" would be in Nashville auditioning people for the show. About 3,000 people were there to apply, and people were randomly chosen to come up and play a round of the game. 

Christmas said, "We were there for like six hours and none of us in the family got called, so we thought it was kind of a bum day. Then at the end, they said, 'we'll be looking through all of the applications and so even if you didn't get to play today, we might ask you to come to call backs.'"

About a month later, he got an email inviting him to a call back audition at a Nashville hotel, where he and 60 others took turns introducing themselves like they would on the show and playing "Wheel of Fortune" for about 4 hours.

"It was a really cool experience. I had never seen 'Wheel of Fortune' before that, so it was learning how to play while I was auditioning, but then the first day of my Christmas break I got the letter that I was gonna be going on the show," Christmas said.

It was "College Week," with 20 students from all over the country participating. Christmas said the shows were taped in Los Angeles about a month ago. 

He said his family seems to be more excited about this TV appearance than all of the academic work he's been doing at Vandy. 

Before the program aired, Christmas said, "I hope a lot of people in Paducah are excited about it because it's always fun to have your hometown represented, but then a lot of people here at Vanderbilt are really excited. Last year at Vandy we had a girl who went on Jeopardy and it was a big deal, so tomorrow I've got a watch party here at Vanderbilt of over 50 people coming to just watch the episode, so it's kind of exciting."

Published 10:09 PM, Friday Mar. 22, 2019
Updated 11:04 PM, Saturday Mar. 23, 2019

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