Niskayuna native a big winner on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Ilene Knebel on set

Ilene Knebel on set

Niskayuna native Ilene Knebel won big on “Wheel of Fortune” in an episode that aired Tuesday night, becoming the first grand prize winner of the season. 

Knebel won $100,000 after getting the bonus round puzzle correct and took home a grand total of $112,000 in cash and prizes, including a trip to the Caribbean and a new car. 

She’s been watching the game show for three decades and auditioned to be a contestant several times. Knebel, who lives in California, finally had the chance to film an episode late last year, during the week after her birthday. 

“This was all I wanted for my birthday wish and it came true,” Knebel said. “I am so grateful to have been chosen as a contestant, especially after trying so many times.”

Knebel, who is a member of the Santa Monica Elks Lodge, plans to pay it forward by sharing part of her winnings with charities close to her.

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