USC father and son compete on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Published Mar 18, 2014 at 9:59 am (Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 9:59 am)

Local “Wheel of Fortune” fans might have noticed some familiar faces if they were watching the show on March 14. That was when Upper St. Clair’s Rick (Enrique) Camacho and his son, Rico, tested their skills during the show’s “Family Week.” Rick, Rico and a group of family, friends and co-workers gathered at the Quaker Steak & Lube in Robinson to watch the show when it aired.

Gerre Lorincy, a friend from Upper St. Clair, said there was a lot of cheering from the boisterous crowd, which flowed into three rooms. “Everyone was so happy and excited,” Lorincy said. “It was really a lot of fun.”

Rick, who works for the Veterans Administration, said the show was taped on December 13, 2013, at the Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, Calif. He explained that he and Rico were there early in the morning and people from the show went over the rules.

Rick thought everyone at “Wheel of Fortune” was very nice, and even though he was nervous, he felt very comfortable. “They tape six shows at a time, so there was a lot of waiting,” Rick said. “I was anxious and wanted it to get going.”

Rico, who works for a company in LaFayette, Ind., that makes standardized tests, also admitted to being nervous when they started their first game. “I wanted everything to be perfect.”

“Beforehand, I was all serious,” Rico said. “But, once we were into it, I loosened up.”

Rick agreed, saying, “Once the first puzzle was over, it was much more fun.”

Rico said that he and his father tried out for the show in late June or early July of 2012, after his sister Nina submitted the family’s names. Tryouts were in Washington, near the Meadows. While there, Rick said they played computer games, testing their puzzle solving skills.

Rico said time passed, and he completely forgot about the tryouts until his dad got a call in late November 2013, near Thanksgiving, asking if they could make it to California for the December taping. Rick, his wife, Janice, and Rico traveled west for the taping, but Nina, who is in graduate school, was unable to make the trip.

“Most of my friends didn’t believe I was on the show,” Rico said. “A lot of them were skeptical until I posted pictures from ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on Facebook.”

Those friends can’t be skeptical anymore. The father-son team, who were competing against two sets of sisters, won their match, netting a total of $26,598 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Jamaica.

Both Rick and Rico said being on the show was a great experience and a lot of fun. “I’d love to do it every day,” Rico said.

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