Tuolumne County native competes on ‘Wheel of Fortune’
By Lacey Peterson, The Union Democrat
February 10, 2015 02:30 pm
Tuolumne native Ben Fairfield and his wife, Lisa Chuang Fairfield, now of Hawaii, will be contestants on “Wheel of Fortune” Thursday night. Courtesy photo.
Tuolumne County native Ben Fairfield will be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune on Thursday.
Fairfield, 33, and his wife, Lisa Chuang Fairfield, 32, of Oahu, were selected as contestants on a couples episode of Wheel of Fortune that was taped in Hawaii.
It will air at 7:30 p.m. on KXTV or CBS. Check local listings or go online to www.wheeloffortune.com and click, “Find your Station.”
Fairfield grew up in Tuolumne and is the son of Paul and Julie Fairfield, of Tuolumne.
He attended Mother Lode Christian School and graduated as co-valedictorian in 2000.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at Azusa Pacific University in 2004. Fairfield earned his master’s degree in ethnomusicology at University of Hawaii and is a third-year doctoral student at University of Hawaii, studying ethnomusicology, the study of music in its cultural context. His focus is on Thai music.
Fairfield and his wife, Lisa, met in 2002 at a Mission Springs summer camp in Santa Cruz. They moved to Hawaii in 2004. They’ve been married 10 years.
From 2007 to 2009, the couple lived in Thailand and were Peace Corps volunteers.
Lisa Chuang Fairfield grew up in Olympia, Washington. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Pacific Lutheran University and a master’s degree at Hawaii Pacific University. She recently completed a doctorate at the University of Hawaii in communication information sciences and is a communications professor at Hawaii Pacific University and University of Hawaii. She is the daughter of Rosaline Chuang, of Olympia, and the late Charles Chuang.
The couple has always enjoyed watching Wheel of Fortune. They saw an advertisement that the show was going to do a taping in Hawaii, Ben Fairfield said.
They submitted a one-minute video of themselves to try out for an in-person audition and were accepted.
“I wrote a song – a Jason Mraz parody with Wheel of Fortune phrases,” Fairfield said.
The actual show taping was “awesome,” he said.
It was a long day however – they had to get up at 4 a.m. to fly to the “Big Island” of Hawaii, then fly back to be at work the next morning.
“The experience was really great,” Fairfield said.
The show host, Pat Sajack, was very nice to everyone and made the contestants feel at ease.
Being a contestant was harder than it looks.
“There’s a million things going on … and you only have two seconds to say an answer … and they’re constantly telling you to project your voice,” he said.
If it sounds like people on the show are shouting, it’s because show producers are telling them to be louder, he explained.
“It was much better to go as a couple. One person could think and the other person can talk. Lisa was doing all the talking and I was spinning and thinking,” Fairfield said. “We worked really well as a team.”
Fairfield said this was their first and, likely, last foray into television, but they definitely enjoyed themselves.
As for how they did – viewers will have to see for themselves on Thursday night.
“We did OK. It was worth the trip,” Fairfield allowed.
And here’s the song thanks to Matt Losak (Lesotho 1985-88; staff NYRO and HQ ’1992-97)