SPIN ZONE

Stars try their luck as TV's Wheel Of Fortune rolls into Nashville

Pat Sajak and Vanna White took their show on the road to Music City, and the stars lined up to take a spin.

"I'm just here to hug on Vanna!" said Darryl Worley. Backstage at the Opry House, where the shows for Wheel Of Fortune's Country Music Stars Week were being taped, Darryl got a chance to do just that.

"I don't believe it!" exclaimed Darryl. "Vanna promised me a dance after the show!" Besides filling her dance card, Vanna also gave Darryl and his fellow stars - who were each teamed with a Wheel contestant - some sage advice.

"Buy vowels!" she smiled. "And use your partner." Wynonna, Lonestar's Richie McDonald, George Jones, Lorrie Morgan, Barbara Mandrell, Brenda Lee, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, Billy Ray Cyrus, Joe Nichols, Mark Wills, Pam Tillis and Carolyn Dawn Johnson will all appear on the show the week of Feb. 17-21. The contestants - all country fans - played for cash, while the stars played for charity.

"They asked if I wanted to be on the show," said Lorrie Morgan. "I said yes right away. Then they said the money will go to my favorite charity, in my case the Nashville Humane Society. So that was a double yes!"

"I just hope I win something!" said Barbara Mandrell, whose chosen charities also help animals. "I've only solved one Wheel Of Fortune puzzle ever. Who knows? Maybe I'm here for comic relief!"

Mark Wills also confessed to having butterflies. "Being here is a whole lot different than watching from home on your couch," confided Mark. "I know the difference between a vowel and a consonant, so

I'm OK there. Unless they throw in that crazy Y!"

Richie McDonald - who watches the show on Lonestar's bus when the band's on tour and confesses to owning a Wheel computer game - was more excited than nervous.

"I'm looking forward to meeting Pat and Vanna," said Richie. "They're like Dick Clark. They don't age!"

Indeed, it's hard to believe Wheel has been on the air for 20 years, and that Pat was a Nashville TV weatherman 25 years ago!

"I feel like I'm coming home," noted Pat. "This is going to be a very big week for us."

- M.B. Roberts

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