Camp Pendleton Marine wins war of words on quiz show ‘Lingo’

"Lingo" host RuPaul Andre Charles, with Riley Compton and her mother, Annmarie Tejcek, on the game show's March 8 episode.
(Guy Levy/CBS (c) 2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Lt. Riley Compton and her mom team up to win big bucks on show hosted by TV personality and San Diego native Rupaul


“When my daughter calls me to do fun and exciting things, I usually don’t have an option to say ‘no,’” Annmarie Tejcek says.

The Indianapolis mom had gotten a call from her adult daughter, Riley Compton, who lives in Carlsbad, begging her to embark on another adventure together. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Mom and daughter once had jumped out of a plane on an Arizona sky diving adventure, and they had rafted through white water rapids in the Grand Canyon.

But this time when Compton said, “Hey, Mom, I have an opportunity for us,” it wasn’t something that begged for life insurance. Riley wanted her mother to be her partner on the TV quiz show “Lingo.”

Different versions of the word puzzle game show have been aired on American TV off and on since 1987. The latest revival debuted Jan. 11 (at 9 p.m. on CBS) hosted and executive produced by singer, dancer and TV personality RuPaul Andre Charles.

RuPaul, perhaps best known for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” reality TV competitions, was born and raised in San Diego. He was a member of Patrick Henry High School’s class of ’79 (although he moved to Atlanta and didn’t graduate with the class).

The school claims an A list of celebrity graduates: Academy Award-nominated actress Annette Bening (class of ‘75), Tony-winning Brian Stokes Mitchell (class of ‘74) and acclaimed screenwriter Lisa Morton (class of ‘76).

Compton, whose dad grew up in Poway, was born in San Diego and raised here briefly before the family relocated to Indiana. She returned in 2020 to Camp Pendleton, where she is a Marine lieutenant, awaiting promotion to captain.

A “Lingo” casting scout contacted her, urging her to find a partner and try out for the show. But her immediate reaction was: Is this a scam?”

Her suspicions were put to rest as she learned more about the game show, which hadn’t yet started airing. “I immediately thought of my mom — someone to keep me calm, cool and collected while I’m excited,” she says.

She doesn’t know how the “Lingo” scout got her name except she once had applied to be a contestant on “Survivor,” one of her favorite TV reality shows. She also has an Instagram account following of about 40,000. “Maybe they accidentally came across my profile,” Compton theorizes.

Annmarie Tejcek, l, and her daughter, Riley Compton, won $90,500 on the word puzzle show, "Lingo," in the March 8 episode.
Annmarie Tejcek and her daughter, Riley Compton, won $90,500 on “Lingo,” in Episode 7 aired March 8.
(Guy Levy/CBS (c) 2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Whatever the impetus, the mother/daughter team competed and did extremely well. When their episode 7 segment aired March 8, they won $90,500, the second highest total of the contestants to that point in the season.

They worked hard for their money. They Googled and studied as many old episodes as they could. Because they live in different cities, they couldn’t practice together, but they prepared via Zoom.

They downloaded the Lingo app, communicated via FaceTime, shared their screens and worked together from two to six hours at a stretch on some evenings, eventually triumphing in the virtual auditions for a spot on the show.

“It’s a tough game, but it’s a fun game,” Tejcek says. “We have a history of playing games in our family. We love to compete. And we show no mercy, even while playing Old Maid when Riley was 5.”

She says it was nerve-racking to walk on stage before a live audience of about 300 people.

“The most terrifying part for me was the COVID test,” adds Compton, who was afraid of losing the chance to compete after all their hard work and trip to Manchester, England, where the videotaping took place because “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” is filmed there.

In the final round, they battled against a father-son team, which concluded with Compton guessing the final six-letter quiz word: “talent.”

“I couldn’t think of a better word to end with,” her mom says.

At first, the duo didn’t realize they had won, then the board went blank, and the lights brightened. “We were touched and overwhelmed with emotion,” Tejcek says.

As for what they will do with their winnings, which they are splitting: first, 10 percent is going to different community services and churches.

Compton, 25, is using the bulk of her share to fund her Team USA bobsled quest. She is a member of the national women’s team, and her goal is to compete in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, as one of the youngest bobsled pilots.

Her mom discloses that her portion of the winnings most likely will fund more of her daughter’s Olympics journey because, after all, competing on the show was Riley’s idea.

Whenever you’re lucky enough that your grown kids invite you to do things with them, Tejcek notes, any parent should jump at the chance.

However, she is drawing the line: “I do not want to compete on ‘Survivor.’”