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How did the Holland man who appeared on Wheel of Fortune do?

Chris Johnson, a born-and-raised Holland man, says the experience was the biggest prize of all — but that’s not all he took home. Here’s how he did.

HOLLAND, Michigan — A born-and-raised Holland man hoped to make West Michigan proud with an appearance on Wheel of Fortune in April. 

“This is one of the single best icebreakers I've ever had possession of in my life," Chris Johnson said. 

Johnson, an avid puzzler solver, was a contestant on his favorite show during their Star Wars week. 

“This is going to be an adventure that we're going to talk about forever," he smiled. 

His wife of 42 years, Judy Johnson, had just gotten out of foot surgery when they got the call that he was a contestant. 

“You’re only gonna get one chance at this thing," he said. 

After rushing out to California for the taping, they set up Judy in her wheelchair on the side of the stage, where she got a front-row seat to watching Vanna White.

She says White asked her if she was cold or needed anything multiple times throughout the day. 

"They were very warm to me and my family," said Chris. “It was an amazing energy that was produced by the whole thing.”

“That's what made it so special, I think for us all," agreed Judy. 

Despite his nerves, Chris solved five of the nine puzzles on the show. 

“I'm very proud of him. Very proud," smiled Judy. 

Chris fended off the other two competitors and made it to the bonus round.

“I'm just thinking, you know, 'yeah, this is awesome.' And 'oh, there's Judy over there,'” he said, describing what was going through his mind before the last round. “I'm swirling the wild card in my hands.”

He took a deep breath and prepared to solve the final puzzle. 

“I said, 'Go Irish,' and I spun the wheel," the Notre Dame alum said. 

But he couldn’t figure out the answer.

“You know, it was brutal,” he said. “I will say this, I'm still undefeated at home.”

Although he didn’t end up taking the big prize home, Chris left California with $15,000 and a four-person vacation to Mexico with an estimated value of $7,500.

“I will never, ever, ever disparage another game player on TV ever again," he laughed, “Sitting on your couch is not the same thing.”

According to Chris, he still feels like a millionaire.

“The prize is the journey. For sure," he said. “Maybe I wouldn't say that if I'd won a million dollars. But I think I'd have said that if I’d have won a million dollars.”

He says it's because he got to experience it all with the people he loves most.

“I won before I was on the show," Chris smiled. 


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