Uncommon Interview with Tim Haaf

Haaf appeared on Wheel of Fortune January 27. The Maroon spoke with Haaf to discuss fishing for cash with Vanna White.

By Jingwen Hu

In the same week, Tim Haaf found out he was accepted to both the Booth School of Business and as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. A lifelong fan, Haaf’s October-taped episode appeared on national TV on January 27. The Maroon spoke with Haaf to discuss fishing for cash, visiting the local watering hole, and Vanna White.

Chicago Maroon: I heard you were you were more excited about getting on to Wheel of Fortune than being admitted to Booth.

Tim Haaf: Yes, I was. I found out about both in the same week. I was very excited to find out that I was going to be on the show. Well, maybe not, I would say equal. They were both very exciting times in my life. But this was way more random… It was more funny to tell people about.

CM: Why did you decide to apply to be on the show?

TH: Because I had left work to apply to business school, I had finished all of my applications, I was sitting around at home, and I had free time.

CM: Did you apply to other game shows?

TH: I applied to Jeopardy!… but I’m not as good at that.

CM: What do you like about Wheel of Fortune?

TH: It’s challenging and it’s with words. It’s kind of like a puzzle with words.

CM: The theme of your episode was “Gone Fishin’.” How did you fare?

TH: I was very disappointed with the theme. A lot of fishing related words. Fish, meals you can make with fish, things about fishing that I did not know the answer to. …I finished dead last. I got really bitter watching it because I remembered how tough it was to lose. I really wanted to win and I was really close to winning. I knew the last puzzle, but I didn’t get a chance to solve it. During the last game, I realized what it was right after my turn and I had to wait for the next two people to go. The person before me figured it out right before I had a chance to. …I solved one puzzle and got a free trip to St. Martin. …I have a year to take it. I honestly don’t know . It was like $9,000 something.

CM: What were the other contestants like?

TH: Two mothers, women with children. They wanted to win so that they could provide for their family. I just wanted to win so I could go to the bar and pay for college debt.

CM: What was the most interesting part of being on Wheel?

TH: Probably backstage with Pat Sajak and Vanna White talking to the audience during the commercial. They’re very funny people. They were going around talking to the audience and making jokes. wasn’t cracking jokes. He was making funny comments between takes.

CM: Did your family watch it?

TH: I had a lot of family watch it, where I’m from in central Pennsylvania, and extended family in New York. They were very excited for me to be on TV. I’m from a small town so it was a big deal for them. Everyone taped it and it was very happy. …They were very happy that I got on TV and they said I looked good on TV. They didn’t care that I lost.

­—Jingwen Hu