I grew up watching “The Price is Right” every single day and dreamed of becoming a contestant on the show. I told my parents if I was ever selected, I would win. Fast forward to July 2016 when my husband, Ryan, and I went to visit my sister, Morgan, and brother-in-law in Los Angeles. When we found out we were making the trip, the top priority was to get tickets to the show.
Ryan managed to get four free tickets online for a taping in July. The next priority was to think of a design for t-shirts we were all going to wear for the show. Unfortunately for the boys, Morgan and I really wanted to wear hot pink shirts. As they say, happy wife, happy life! The boys gave in and my mom was actually the one that came up with the wording for the shirts which said “Keep Calm and Play Plinko.” Ryan got the supplies from Michaels and quickly went to work creating the shirts. He unfortunately had to redo two of the shirts, but in the end, we made it work! The night before the taping of the show, we printed off the tickets online and made sure we knew how to get to the studio in the morning. The tickets were not guaranteed admission into the show, so we had to make sure to get there early. We arrived between 6:00 and 6:30 that morning and there was already a line. The first thing I noticed was a recruiter for the show “Let’s Make a Deal” walking down the line trying to recruit contestants. Morgan and I were picked out of line and filled out the application to be on the show and were asked a series of questions. The only caveat was that we were disqualified as contestants if one of us happened to be selected to “come on down” on The Price is Right. We stood in line for over an hour before we were taken into another line outside of the studio. Luckily we had gotten there early and were going to be in the studio audience! Once in line, we had to fill out several pages of contracts while a lady walked around writing our names on the famous “Price is Right” name tags. Seeing my name was so surreal because of how iconic the show is. The employee writing our names told us she had to go through classes to learn how to write the names perfectly on the name tags. After we filled out the forms, we were directed to a photo area where an employee took an individual headshot of each audience member. Next, we were directed to stand in front of a green screen for some group and individual shots. Here are some of the pictures we took! The pictures can be purchased while waiting in line (I think they were $20).
There is also a small souvenir shop that you can only visit before the show, so if you want to do some shopping, make sure to do it while waiting in line. The next place we were directed to was a long line of benches where we were told to remain quiet. The employees were taking about 30 audience members at a time to be interviewed by the casting director. This was our time to shine! Once we were called up, I noticed a lady with a clip board writing down information on the audience members the casting director took an interest in. He asked a single question, “What do you do for a living?” I noticed he was quickly moving from person to person. Once it was my turn, I said I was a law student and he continued the conversation for about 20-30 seconds. He asked what kind of law I want to practice, what my favorite Price is Right game is, etc. My family was pretty certain I had been selected as a contestant, but I didn’t want to get too excited! After the interview, we were taken to another seating area where we were able to buy lunch, use the restroom, and watch old episodes and funny bloopers of the show. By the time we were heading into the studio, we had been there about 6 hours. Be prepared for the long wait! Also, you can’t bring your cell phone into the studio, so you can either leave them in your car (that is what we did) or you can put it in a locker at the studio. Ladies, you can bring your purse! They just require you to place it under your seat in the studio. Once we made our way into the studio, an employee was directing everyone where to sit. When my group approached, she led us towards the front behind contestant’s row. She quickly removed tape off of our four seats and sat us down (this was a hint I was selected as a contestant. The seats were taped off so the cameraman knew where to look). Looking around, I was so surprised how small the studio was in real life. I guess that’s the magic of television! Before the show started, the crew members told us if our name is called during the show to look to one of the crew members who would be holding a poster board sign with the name written on it. They also warned to stay highly energized because if someone is very outgoing in the audience they could be selected on the spot. Once the show started and the first four contestant names were called, it was still really surreal. During the commercial breaks, Drew Carey got to know some of the audience members while the crew set up the prizes and games. After the first group spun the wheel, I started to think I wasn’t selected. Then, the second to last contestants name is called and all I hear is “…COME ON DOWN!” I turn and Morgan was already standing ready to hug me. I couldn’t even believe my name was called! When I got to contestant’s row, the prizes up for bid was an Iphone 6s and accessories. I turned to my family and my hubby was telling me to bid $900. It was so incredibly loud in the studio I couldn’t hear any of the other bids. Next thing I know, Drew reads the actual retail price and no one was moving. It then dawned on me that I had won my way up on stage. It was pretty much a blur because I was so shocked, but I do remember shaking so much I tripped on the stairs on my way up to the stage. I got to hug Drew Carey! So surreal.
He then tells me I was going to play the classic game “Punch a Bunch” for a chance to win $25,000. I used to watch this game being played growing up, so I knew exactly what to do, and I’m a law student, so I was excited for the chance to win money. All I had to do was guess whether the actual retail price for four prizes were higher or lower than the price shown. For the items I guessed correctly, I got a punch on the board. Each time an item was showed, the audience was really loud, but I had a gut feeling for every item and answered fairly quickly. I guessed all four prizes correctly, so I had four punches on the board!
Growing up I always got mad when people punched the corner hole, and yet I did it on my last punch! Drew reached in the first hole and there was $250. I had the option of keeping it or throwing it away, and I chose to try my luck. Now, what you won’t see on the show is what happened next. Drew reached in the next hole and said there wasn’t a card in there. The crew had to come out and search around. Turns out I punched the hole so hard the card fell out the back of the game…oops! So the crew reset everything and Drew re-filmed that entire portion. That card contained $1000. As tempting as that was, it wasn’t $25,000. The third card contained $100. That was the least amount of money on the board. I chose to try my luck with the last card and I won $5000!
After winning, I was rushed backstage during the commercial break so I could get a microphone put on. Then the crew member made me sit with the rest of the contestants to the side of the studio. When it was time to spin the big wheel, the crew member warned us how heavy it is and told us to spin and step back so it doesn’t knock anyone out! I was the second person to spin and was truly shocked how incredibly heavy the wheel is. It was so embarrassing watching myself spin the wheel on t.v…I looked like a grandma! I gave a shout out to my family and somehow managed to spin $0.95 in my first spin.
I knew I had a great chance of making it into the showcase, but there was still one more contestant left to spin. On her first spin, she came extremely close to getting $1.00. I got lucky. She didn’t match my $0.95 in her second spin and I was headed to the showcase!! I couldn’t believe it! I was living out my childhood dream! During the commercial break, a crew member told me and the other contestant in the showcase that there was a television screen to our left if we had difficulty seeing the prize and to try and look excited and cover the fact we are calculating the prizes in our head. I was the top winner for the day, so I had the choice to bid or pass on the first showcase which contained a wine cabinet, trip to Florence, Italy, and a party boat. As a law student, I really needed a new car and didn’t know what I would do with a boat, so I decided to pass. I thought the other contestant bid $35,000 but I couldn’t hear what he said. My showcase was up next! It contained a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Toyota Tacoma truck! I looked to my family and my hubby was telling me to bid $32k. My gut was telling me to bid $28k, but I ended up bidding $31k.
Growing up I always felt bad for the contestants who lost, but during the commercial break I didn’t feel that way. I was so incredibly excited to have just been selected as a contestant that I didn’t care if I won or lost. After the commercial break, Drew read the actual retail price of my showcase. I was sure I had overbid, but I had underbid by about $9,000. The other contestant had actually bid $25k and the actual retail price was $38k. I WON!!! I didn’t know I had won until I saw Morgan’s face! I remember a crew member ushering me to run over to the truck and there I got to hug all my family in the audience. Being on the show was so surreal and truly a lifelong dream! As soon as the taping stopped, I was rushed into a back room by security to fill out all the paperwork. The employees gave me the sign that was used when my name was called to “come on down,” and I even got a license plate frame for my truck!
I still can’t believe my luck that day! The hardest part was keeping it a secret from my family and friends until the show aired two months later! Below is the video of me playing Punch a Bunch! Make sure to check out my other blogs about my trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Zoo Lujan, where I was able to play with lions and tigers 🙂
Have you ever dreamed of being a contestant on “The Price is Right”? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!