FRESNO, Calif. --Nicholas Pope is an avid viewer of Wheel of Fortune, and the 37-year-old pastor was a ball of nerves as the game played out in front of family and friends.
Nick's wife, Katie, was a winner two years ago, cashing in on $50,000 in prizes. And the family was hopeful lightening would strike twice.
"I told him if you don't beat mem he would never hear the end of it from all of his friends," Katie said.
The room was skeptical Nick could pull it off, and during the first two rounds, the other two contestants never missed a letter. Nobody landed on bankrupt, and Nicholas had no money.
"I've not had a chance on the wheel," he said. "Give me a chance on the wheel."
Call it divine intervention or just plain luck, but after a commercial break, Nick's fortune began to change.
First, he landed on the Wheel of Fortune Express Wedge, ending round three with $22,000. He scored another $18,000 in the final round, and then came the bonus round.
"We were so nervous in the audience, it was way more nerve wracking watching him then doing the show," Katie said. "I was like, he's Tom Brady, we can do this, we can do this."
Nick's $69,000 win put the family's total earnings at over $100,000, and the focus now is on training the next generation.
"Our oldest, who can read, can solve puzzles," Katie said. "And even our 5-year-old can name letters, and our 3-year-old can say there's 'S.' So it's kinda fun."
The family said they plan on taking a trip to Hawaii over the summer, and they also won a new car.
Nick plans to donate a portion of his winnings to charity.