Friday, February 1, 2008

Hailey man pulls just the right lever

Vegas slot machine yields $1 million prize

Express Staff Writer

What are the chances? The Wheel of Fortune slots machine is like any other. Low odds.

But the more you play, the better your chances. Unless you have the patience, the time and the coins, it's hardly worth the effort. For Hailey resident Ron Theobald, the interminable wait at the airport on Thursday after attending a flooring and surfaces convention seemed like just such a time.

He wasn't even supposed to be there. At the last moment, Theobald replaced his boss at Poster Construction on a business trip to Las Vegas.

His wife, Cat Theobald, was working at Johnny G's Subshack in Ketchum when the phone rang.

"He lost his cell so he was calling me on a calling card," she said. "He was crying. I could barely understand him. He said, 'I just won a million dollars on the Wheel of Fortune. I'm going to miss my plane.'"

Cat said that after she went to the bathroom to compose herself, she returned to making sandwiches. (She also works nights at Zou 75 restaurant in Hailey.)

"I won't believe it until I see the check," she said. "He said he has (the first yearly installment) check in his pocket."

The Theobalds are longtime residents of the valley. They are the parents of two children, Dani and Nate. Their skateboard shop in Hailey, Obstacle, was closed two years ago.

Now there is no obstacle.

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