‘Traveling Vanna’ has roots in Port Angeles

BLYN — Heidi McAllister was the new girl at Port Angeles High School when she ran onto the field with the rest of the cheerleading squad in the early 1990s and did a face plant.

“I literally fell on my face in front of the whole school,” said the 31-year-old actor on Saturday, in between rounds of “Wheel of Fortune” at 7 Cedars Casino.

But like any actor worth her salt, she picked herself up and stuck it out.

McAllister, Port Angeles class of 1992, has done all right since.

She is the traveling hostess for “Wheel of Fortune,” doing the job on the road that made Vanna White famous.

And this weekend, McAllister — along with the rest of the Wheelmobile crew — was on the North Olympic Peninsula searching for contestants.

“It’s so special to be here,” she said.

“Being a Washington girl, I love to see the local flavor and color.”

She’s been with the traveling version of the show since March. About two weeks of the month are spent on the road in five-day chunks.

During that time, she has grown close to co-workers and fans.

“It’s really endearing and sweet to see how excited people are,” she said.

“You have to really be in the moment,” she said, noting that it doesn’t look difficult to write the letters.

Yes, in the road version of “Wheel,” the letters are written in the squares instead of being tapped and illuminated by White on TV.

“Everyone is staring at you,” McAllister said

Her co-workers had high praise for her as well.

“We’ve had some good ones, and she’s up there,” said David Strathearn, promotions and publicity project manager for “Wheel of Fortune.”

“She’s fabulous,” said Lisa Dee, executive director marketing and promotions for the show.

“She’s so glamorous and friendly.”

More in Life

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during Saturday’s annual plant sale and raffle at the floral barn at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The sale, hosted by the Port Angeles Garden Club, was a fundraiser for club projects and scholarships, and it featured a wide variety of plants for the upcoming growing season and beyond. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Plant sale at Clallam County Fairgrounds

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during… Continue reading

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.


(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading

Jaiden Dokken, at Jeanette Best Gallery in Port Townsend, is Northwind Art’s new exhibits coordinator. (Northwind Art)
Poet laureate takes on new role with Northwind Art

Artist, poet and educator Jaiden Dokken is Northwind Art’s… Continue reading

Author John Vaillant stands in front of the iconic tower at Port Angeles City Pier. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Author visits Peninsula for Writer in Residence program

Vaillant awarded Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

A GROWING CONCERN: Volunteers a dream for playground

YOU, MY LOYAL readers, have been excellent the couple of times I… Continue reading

Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

Joanna Gabriel will present the lesson at 11 a.m.… Continue reading