A Southern California elementary school teacher made Wheel of Fortune history when she became the first person to win a house in the bonus round...time to celebrate with some margaritas...in Margaritaville!
Laura Trammell, who lives in Orange County, Calif. and teaches at a public school in one of its suburban towns, competed on the game show on an episode that aired on Tuesday, April 27. She won a $375,000 home in one of the Latitude Margaritaville communities for adults aged 55 and over in Florida, which singer Jimmy Buffett, famous for the 1977 hit "Margaritaville," helped develop.
Trammell had already won $23,690 and a trip to St. Thomas for a tropical island getaway before beginning the Wheel of Fortune bonus round puzzle, which she solved with the phrase "I caught a glimpse."
"She caught a glimpse. She caught a glimpse of her new home," host Pat Sajak said, as Trammell, looking astonished, let out a cry of glee.
She later told him, "Oh, I am beyond excited. I'm still in shock. I still can't believe it just happened."
Her total score was $398,690, marking a new record for the show's highest non-millionaire winnings.
The episode aired during Wheel of Fortune's "Home Sweet Home" week as part of a promotion for the Latitude Margaritaville communities, a joint venture between home builder Minto Communities and Buffett's resort, restaurant and merchandise company Margaritaville. The show first began running the annual promotion in 2018.
That year, Ohio retiree Michael Corbett won a Latitude Margaritaville home in Daytona and moved into it in early 2019.
There are three neighborhoods: In Daytona Beach and Watersound in Florida and in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The newly constructed villas, cottages and larger single-family homes cost between the low $200,000s and the high $300,000s. The communities contain amenities such as a fitness center, a swimming pool and a spa, a restaurant and bar and a town square and theater, which offer dancing and other entertainment events.
Trammel's wins marked one of the biggest prizes ever won on Wheel of Fortune since its 1975 debut. In 2008, New Jersey teacher Michelle Loewenstein became the first contestant to win $1 million on the show.
The second $1 million prize was claimed in 2013 by Autumn Erhard, a sales rep from Orange County, Calif., who holds the record for the most earnings on Wheel of Fortune with a total of $1,030,340. In 2014, Sarah Manchester, a math teacher from Maryland, became the third and most recent contestant to win $1 million on Wheel of Fortune.