When an all-expenses-paid trip to Music City USA was denied Wheel of Fortune contender Kristen Shaw, Nashville-based adventure company Adventureworks and hospitality leaders came together, determined to have the contestant in Music City.
Early Friday morning, while Twitter and national media outlets argued over the rules governing one of America’s most beloved prime-time game shows, Adventureworks’ L.J. Whalen wondered how a city known for its community and Southern hospitality couldn’t let Ms. Shaw visit the country music capital of the world.
Kristen Shaw lost out on close to $10,000 in prizes on Thursday night’s show after a technical rule violation. During the “crossword puzzle” challenge on the show, Ms. Shaw answered the puzzle in the form of a sentence, adding the conjunction “and” between her final two words, prompting longtime host Pat Sajak to deny her the win. The prize package at stake included a trip to Nashville, TN. After hearing about the upset and seeing the outpouring of support to amend the show’s long-standing rules, Mr. Whalen knew that it was the “Nashville thing to do” to bring Ms. Shaw to the music-making capital for a visit.
Mr. Whalen, one of the directors of Nashville-based adventure company Adventureworks, described the city’s support for Ms. Shaw in a video posted Saturday afternoon on the company’s YouTube page.
“Nashville has long been a city dedicated to making dreams come true,” Whalen says in the video, reaching out directly to Ms. Shaw. “We were built on the idea that—even when the odds are stacked against you—anyone can make it here. Nashville likes to ‘bend the rules’ sometimes too. Adventureworks has been serving Nashville as a leader in offering new and exciting experiences, stepping out of your comfort zone, and taking big risks—much like Ms. Shaw and her appearance on the Emmy-award winning program. We thought that if Nashville can make dreams come true for stars like Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift, we should be able to help her too.”
In short order, Whalen and Adventureworks did what they do best: assembled a team of local businesses that came up with a tour package to rival the $8,000 loss. “With the help of a lot of our friends around town, we’re proud to have Ms. Shaw come to Nashville and see all that the Southern capital has to offer. We’ve gotten her tickets to every attraction in town AND museums AND honky-tonks AND 4-star hotel accommodations AND even prime seats to the Grand Ole Opry—backstage passes and all,” Whalen said, clearly poking fun at the use of the conjunction. All of Ms. Shaw’s “to-do’s” can be found below.
“Our hospitality community is genuinely close-knit,” Whalen when on to explain. “We’d love to show Ms. Shaw and the nation that we’re a lot more than boot-stomping and beer drinking. We’re a city rich in love and unbounded hopefulness to see people’s dreams come true.” Adventureworks committed to fly Ms. Shaw and a guest out to the city, put them up in one of the most talked-about hotels, and gain them admission to every award-winning attraction and restaurant in town.
“AND we won’t even make her solve a puzzle to claim it,” Whalen slyly concludes.