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A $500,000

July 26, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Aaron Hedrick stood shaking in front of a live TV studio audience after coming up short of winning $500,000 by a matter of milliseconds.

He had a second chance but needed calm hands and a clear head.

Hedrick's fiancé, Kimberly Fox, did what she could to help.

"I felt him shaking," Fox said. "I just grabbed his hands and said, 'You got this,' and he just looked at me and was like you're right."

Both Hedrick and Fox went from devastation to jubilation after winning $500,000 when they had missed just moments before.

It is a story-book ending no one could have written from imagination. The turning point of most love stories doesn't come when the knight-in-shining armor successfully stacks 10 bolt nuts on an unstable surface in less than a minute.

This is exactly what Hedrick was able to do on NBC's "Minute to Win It," a game show that has ordinary people do extraordinary tasks with household objects for loads of cash.

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The couple practiced the more than 160 different games they would need to master to go far on "Minute to Win It." Hedrick said the couple turned their apartment into a "Minute to Win It boot camp."

"I would have to say we were both really lucky," Hedrick said. "We practiced these games endlessly. Instead of going out on Friday night, we would stay in and practice, but on the show, we did most games better then we ever did in practice."

Hedrick believes their success was due to their physicality and teamwork.

"I was extremely lucky to have Kim with me," Hedrick said. "If you are doing all those games without a break, the adrenaline can get to you; being able to tag in and out made all the difference. Kim allowed us to go as far as we did."

Originally, Hedrick and Fox had their hearts set on winning $50,000 so they could arrange their dream wedding. Now they get to multiply that number by 10.

"It's just outrageous that we get this jump start into life together," Hedrick said. "It's kind of a rough time for everyone right now and this is such a blessing for us that these liquid finances just fall into our laps."

They have set the date for their wedding as Oct. 23.

"Aaron and I live paycheck to paycheck," Fox said. "While we don't need money to be happy it makes things so much easier. We can get married without being in the red."

The couple plans on using the rest of the money to pay off their debts, buy a house and move Fox's mom and step-dad to California.

"Aaron and I plan on being pragmatic, enjoying the money but also investing it for when we start a family," Fox said. "We'd love to buy a house or a condo so this money doesn't just last two years but can be the nest egg that we dreamed of."

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