Gulfport man wins big on Wheel of Fortune

Gulfport man wins big on Wheel of Fortune
L.J. Gaddis speaks with Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak during his appearance on the show.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Being on Wheel of Fortune was a bucket list item for Gulfport resident L.J. Gaddis. So imagine his surprise after auditioning in New Orleans when the popular game show invited him out to California. It was an experience that paid out in more ways than one.

Gaddis has been a Wheel of Fortune fan for as long as he can remember. At a very early age, he said he was solving problems from his living room.

Being on Wheel of Fortune was a bucket list item for Gulfport resident L.J. Gaddis. So, he auditioned for the show in New Orleans, made it and made the 2 ½ day drive out to California to be on the show.

"Growing up, since I was 6 years old, I always watched Wheel of Fortune, sitting at home, solving every puzzle,” Gaddis said. “I told my wife about a year ago that I wanted to be on there.”

Gaddis auditioned with 45 others, and two weeks later his wife got a phone call. Making the 2 1/2 day drive out west to California was a no-brainer, said Gaddis.

“She said she had a surprise for me when I got home,” Gaddis added. “She said Wheel of Fortune called. So on July 25, we packed up at 12:30 in the morning, hit the road, drove to California, and I taped the show.”

Gaddis did rather well on the game show, winning a week-long trip to the Bahamas. But for Gaddis, the entire experience was a journey he’ll never forget.

“It’s the experience I went for,” he said. “I’ve never seen a mountain a day in my life until I drove to California. We went up mountains and down mountains. I’ve got about 100 pictures of just mountains. I was telling my wife to drive and see God’s beauty, that’s what it was all about for me."

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