Giovanna Bechard of Portland will be on “Wheel of Fortune” Monday. Photo by Carol Kaelson

Giovanna Bechard of Portland has been preparing to spin the wheel for most of her life.

Bechard, 42, will be seen competing Monday on an episode of the long-running syndicated TV game show “Wheel of Fortune.” She grew up watching it daily with her family and has continued to watch, solving puzzles from the comfort of her living room each night. These days, that’s with her husband and two sons, ages 7 and 10.

So when Bechard heard last summer that the show’s Wheelmobile would be holding mobile tryouts in Orono, she drove the two hours from Portland to take part. Even then, there was a lot of chance involved, as there is in the game itself. Bechard had to wait around for hours to see if she’d be called, at random, to participate in a mock game. She was, and did well enough to land an actual audition. The audition led to her appearance on the show, which was taped in Los Angeles earlier this month.

A former reporter for Portland TV station WGME and now the communications director for the Maine Education Association, Bechard said Thursday she had no trouble being in front of lights and cameras during the show’s taping. But she said it was challenging trying to keep track of all the information being fed to contestants off camera, including what letters have been used and how much money everybody has.

“You’re processing all this and concentrating on solving the puzzle,” said Bechard. “It’s way easier at home.”

“Wheel of Fortune” began on TV in 1975 and has been airing weeknights since 1983, with Pat Sajak and Vanna White as hosts. Contestants spin a wheel to determine dollar amounts they’re playing for, then they try to solve a short word puzzle by picking letters.  Once enough letters are revealed, people guess the puzzle. Winners of each episode, who take home cash and/or prizes, don’t get to play again. So win or lose, Bechard’s only show will be Monday. “Wheel of Fortune” airs locally on WMTW at 7 p.m.

Bechard is the second Mainer is less than a week to be on one of America’s best-known TV game shows. Dennis Coffey, a bartender from Old Orchard Beach, ended his three-game winning streak on “Jeopardy!” Wednesday, after winning a total of $52,203.

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