May 31, 2013 at 03:34 PM EDT

Wheel of Fortune

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
performer
Vanna White

It’s not easy to snag Wheel of Fortune‘s top prize. In order to even be eligible for a $1 million payday, contestants must be lucky enough to spin the big wheel and land on the million dollar prize slot — a 1-in-72 chance. They must then solve the main puzzle and win entry to the show’s bonus round — in which they spin yet another wheel, which gives them another 1-in-24 chance of landing on the big money — without ever hitting the dreaded “bankrupt” wedge.

But luck and skill collided last night for Autumn Erhard, an animal pharmaceuticals sales rep who had already racked up $30,00 in cash and prizes (trips to exotic Belize and… Arizona!) before she made it to the bonus round. Though she knew only four letters of the final two-word, 12-letter puzzle, Erhard guessed its solution instantly… only to discover that she’d just become the second person in Wheel history to win $1 million. (The first was Michelle Lowenstein in 2008, the same year the million dollar prize was first introduced.)

Take note, numerology nuts: Erhard is 30 years old, she appeared on Wheel during its “Celebrating 30” theme week — in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary — and her episode aired May 30. Clearly, the odds were in her favor.

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Read more:
‘Hangman with prizes’: On the scene at the 30th anniversary of ‘Wheel of Fortune’
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