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Big win

John HartWhile in the teacher's room at Lyman Gilmore Middle School, Missy Bill shows how excited she became during the taping of "Wheel of Fortune" in Southern California.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Nevada County can see how energetic and smart Missy Bill is tomorrow.

Bill, a physical education teacher at Lyman Gilmore Middle School, finally realized a lifelong dream of being a contestant on the game show “Wheel of Fortune.”

Bill had sent dozens of postcards to the show over the years, saying she wanted to be a contestant. When she married and moved to Grass Valley from Chico last year, she realized she needed to notify “Wheel of Fortune” that her name and address changed.



Last spring, show producers informed her that she had won an audition.

Out of the 300 would-be contestants who filled the room, 20 were chosen to appear on the show.




“It’s very hard because you want to show energy,” Bill said.

“She’s highly energetic,” Bambi Carroll, an independent study teacher at Lyman Gilmore, said about Bill from across the teachers’ lounge. “Very energetic.”

Energetic contestants rose to the top of the field early, but sometimes didn’t hold their promise come show time, Bill said.

A couple of women contestants – equally energetic, she swears – froze when faced with a camera, she said.

Bill didn’t have that problem.

“Then they keep you waiting for two weeks,” Bill recalled about awaiting word on whether she would appear on the show. “And everyone here knows,” she said about the school. “The kids all know …”

The blonde 31-year-old from Orland returned for her taping date July 12 at Sony Studios in Culver City with an entourage.

Since Bill was allowed to have five people in the audience, she flew down to Los Angeles with her husband, her parents, sister and nephew.

Bill and the other contestants spent the day in a room with 20 people – “like a sequestered jury,” she noted – before taping started at 2 p.m.

Bill was the only contestant who could talk about where she worked because she’s a government worker. For others, it’s considered an advertisement for their business.

Bill’s trip to Culver City and Sony Studios has been the talk of the campus.

“Tell them how they make you all the same height,” Carroll urged Bill.

Contestants stand on platforms of different heights to make all three appear to be the same height.

Bill displayed so much of the sought-after energy, show staffers feared she would fall off her platform.

Speaking of height, Vanna White, the game show’s hostess, is quite short and petite, Bill said.

Did she win?

We can’t say, but part of the plot hinges on being able to name all four acting Baldwin brothers, the most famous of whom is named Alec.

Tune in to Channel 10 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Log on to the show’s Web site to read more about Bill in the contestant diary section at


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