LOS ANGELES (NEWS10) — A Schenectady native played Wheel of Fortune Tuesday night. She made it to the bonus round and won big!
“I feel so incredible! This is life changing!” Ilene Knebel exclaimed after the show wrapped. She won $100,000 after getting the bonus round puzzle correct. Knebel took home a grand total of $112,000 in cash and prizes, including a trip to the Caribbean and a new car.
“I’m definitely going to be buying some cocktails in the Caribbean,” Knebel said. “But I also have some charities that are close to my heart that I’m going to share this with.”
She is the first $100,000 grand prize winner of Wheel of Fortune’s 39th season after decades of auditioning to play. Growing up in Schenectady and watching the show with her mom, Knebel always dreamed of being a contestant.
“My coworker was a contestant on the show and won over $100,000! I went into his office often and he would tell me to ‘keep trying’,” Knebel explained. “When I came into the game today, I just thought that I wanted to smile, smile so much that my face was frozen in a smile because I was just so happy to be here, and I was so excited to meet Pat and Vanna.”
Knebel moved to California in 1980 and has worked for the city of Beverly Hills for over 25 years. She and her husband, Kyle, have three adult children.
You can start the process to audition to be on Wheel of Fortune online!