A Portsmouth High graduate, Nathaniel Nelson had the privilege of being a contestant on the game show Wheel of Fortune. Although he no longer lives in the area, this family man had the time of his life when he was able to make an appearance on the show.
He is married to his wife, Evelyn, and has three sons: John, Manuel, and Joseph.
“I’m married with three children,” Nelson said. “I grew up in Portsmouth Ohio, but now I live in Atlanta Georgia, and it was an amazing experience being able to be on Wheel of Fortune.”
Ever since he was a little kid, Nelson watched the show every night and continues to do so as an adult.
“Being on the show was a dream come true. I’ve watched the show ever since I was a little kid and I still love trying to solve the puzzles.”
Although there are millions of submissions of audition tapes, Nelson’s stood out. The goal is to be energetic and ready to win this once in a lifetime game.
“You can only be on the show once, so it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Nelson said. “I tell everyone that it’s worth it to at least send in an audition tape, because it only takes a minute. I got a little creative with my tape, and made a rap telling them why I’d be good on the show.”
Through the filming process, Nelson made friends with all of the other contestants and was part of the audience for five of the six shows he was there for, and participated in one. His new-found friends encouraged him, and he hoped for the best for them as well. Nelson’s wife, Evelyn, was able to join him for the filming.
“It was nice having my wife there in the audience to support me,” Nelson said. “I enjoyed looking up and seeing her there.”
Even though he was in the midst of big name celebrities, they came across as normal people.
“It was an amazing experience, and everyone there was so nice and down to earth,” Nelson said. “I talked with Vanna White before the show, and her advice was to not be nervous, and just have fun. Pat was great too. They really did want us to win.”
Now that Nelson has moved away, he enjoys visiting Portsmouth, and has fond memories of the area.
“There are a few things I miss about Portsmouth,” Nelson said. “I miss my family, going down to the river bank and hanging out, and Giovanni’s pizza.”
Although he came in second place, Nelson still walked away with $14,000 and a smile on his face.