By Dawn Pearson
Following a dream of his, Carmel resident Julian Batts won a small fortune spinning the big wheel.
Batts, a 2013 Carmel High School graduate, traveled to Culver City, Calif., to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune and earned a whopping $11,700. Not bad for a day’s pay.
The Indiana University freshman business and Spanish major proudly wore his IU colors on the show, too.
But his performance on the show has generated quite the media and Internet sensation. You can see Batts’ performance, his hits and some big misses with a YouTube query of his name.
His successful audition and appearance on the show has created a lot of media coverage due to a couple of his incorrect answers.
“It has been wild since it aired. Haters are going to do what they are going to do, and you have to move forward and have to stay positive about it!,” Batts said. “Some media attention has been negative, but I don’t care, getting on the show is hard enough.”
And according to Batts, it’s not about the puzzles he missed or the money he won, it’s about dreaming.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and to see what it was like in real life versus what America sees on TV,” Batts said. “I love to try new things, get out of my comfort zone, so I applied online, and actually got an email back to audition. So I went to the audition and walked out not knowing if I had what they wanted. But I did it.”
Batts missed a couple easy puzzles and the media picked up on that, not the fact that he was one of millions of contestants that apply per year, and only a few thousand even make it on the show or that he took home $11,700.
“This was the huge accomplishment for me, being a contestant on Wheel, it’s American’s game,” he said. “And I made a lot of money.”
Being in a real Hollywood studio is not the same as guessing “hangman” type puzzles in your living room either, he said.
“During the taping with a live audience, you have the momentum of the show and the adrenline going through you, and the nerves, being on a fast-paced show, knowing you are on national TV, was a whole new element for me,” he said. “So I went in there, gave my best and am so content and happy.”
And Batts just wants everyone in Carmel to know that they should “try new things, go explore and try out for your dreams because you never know what could happen….it’s all a learning experience regardless of the outcome.”