I had just moved to California on October 3, 2015, and while applying for jobs I decided I would investigate Price is Right tickets. To my surprise, they were free! So I signed up for some. I absolutely love the Price is Right. I have watched it for as long as I can remember and my dream was to go to a taping of it hoping for the chance to “come on down.”
Setting the Scene
On October 26th, Ben and I set out with our homemade shirts. Ben isn’t as die-hard of a fan as I, but that’s fine with me! As we approach at 11 am, the line is already quite long so he drops me off and goes to park, although I was reluctant to go in line alone while I waited for him. They filter out “priority ticket” holders first, which we don’t have, and there is still a long line behind us. Finally we get our ticket; mine is 276 and only six people after us make it in. Woohoo! We’re definitely going in for the showing, as it was never guaranteed with the tickets I got.
Another long line! It’s about 12:30 now, but I really didn’t keep track of time because I was SO excited. I could barely stand in line without jumping up and down. In this line, we filled out a waiver and then they gave us our nametag. That girl Shannon has amazing handwriting! I buy a magnet for $4 because we had none and I need a TPIR one. Then, we get our individual picture taken and then a shot of Ben and me in front of the green screen. Finally, we are at the next line!
This line is the interview line. We wait a long time here. Ben gets us some $8 sandwiches and water and I still can’t stand or sit still. We’re getting closer!!! We buy the photo of us in front of the wheel and then the audience from the first show starts coming out. I keep asking them how it was and they tell me how much fun it is. One man says to make sure you are jumping up and down during the interview process because the girl next to him did and she got selected. DONE! Anything to heighten my chances I will do.
It’s our turn for the interview.
“I heard the last group is the best group!” yells Stan.
“WOOHOOOOOOO!!” Jumping up and down
“Who wants a new car!?!?” screams Stan.
“WOOHOOOOOOO!!” Jumping up and down
The interviewer was asking questions to guests such as “what do you do?” (most common).
These interviews were about 20 seconds each. My turn approaches.
“Hello Emily!” – Stan
“What do you do?”
“I teach 5th grade and just drove here from Florida!”
“You know they make planes now.”
“We just moved here!!!”
That’s pretty much it for that. Oh yeah, I was screaming and jumping throughout that.
Ben’s interview wasn’t as thrilling as mine!
The casting assistant looked at me at one point and I saw her write something down but who knows what that is. Here we go to the next line!
We are waiting in line to enter the CBS studios and have to give them our phone and go through a metal detector. It makes sense we have to give up our phones for the showing so they are not a distraction. We entered the groovy studio, it was so bright and filled with beautiful colors.
The show starts after waiting around for a few more minutes. We are in the last row, but that does not stop my energy! Several contestants are called down to play games, and Drew Carey entertains us during breaks and gets the crowd laughing.
We were nearing the end of the show when I thought how much fun just this experience was and my chances were really, REALLY slim to be called, at random out of hundreds of audience members to be the last contestant. I continued to cheer and yell out prices for the contestants though.
It was time for the last contestant to be called down.
Suddenly the announcer says, “Where is is Emily Mandeville? Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price is Right.”
I Got Called!
My body felt paralyzed I looked next to me at one of my neighbors, a random stranger, and said “that’s me” and she said “you have to go down there then”…and then shaking and putting my hands up like I had no idea what was going on, I just ran down the aisle as fast as I could flailing my hands above me slapping the hands of those around me because everyone was cheering me on.
Suddenly it was time to focus, and because they were already announcing what the item was that I had to bid on (and of course I had to bet on it first), and since I was the last contestant, I was only allowed one chance to bid and to get it to be able to go on stage. it was a set of speakers in an AM/FM radio of sorts, and I had no idea what the going rate for any of that was; plus all of the adrenaline and excitement was so overwhelming I could barely focus!
My bid was $600; everyone else placed their bids and I was somehow the closest…and once again, I could not believe that this was actually happening because it all happened so fast–within maybe five minutes of being called down as the last contestant, I have now won the bid and I’m up on stage shaking Drew Carey’s hand and hugging him–I’m not sure what transpired!
Playing To Win
Drew started talking about the next game that we would play called The Rat Race. There were three items that you had to bid on: a bag of chips, a car vacuum, and a kitchen mixer. You have to be in a $1, $10, and $100 range for each of those items in order to win a rat to race around a track, and if your rat color wins then you win the prizes that match up accordingly.
The first prize was some fancy shoes and handbags if your rat comes in third place. If your rat comes in second place, then you win cheesecake for a year; which honestly sounds amazing. And, of course, if you come in first place you win a braaaaaaand neeeeew caaaaar!!!!!!!!!!! I was in disbelief; a new car?! I didn’t even have a car at the time. Ben and I were driving one together as we had just moved from Florida to Los Angeles in his tiny Ford Focus. My previous car would never have made that trip, as it was a 1994 Volvo.
It was time to start guessing on these items very soon and of course, I guess the bag of chips correctly within a dollar until I got a rat, and of course, I said I’m going with pink because it’s my favorite color and I was decked out with a pink homemade shirt and bright pink lipstick.
The next item to bid on was the car vacuum, which is a little more difficult for me, so I was looking at random people in the audience for advice. Ben was holding up a 40, so I went with $40. I was wrong; I didn’t get that rat.
The next item was the kitchen mixer, and I guessed it was within $100 so I got another rat which I went with green. Drew reminded me of the rules based on my rats and how they do at their race, and suddenly they were off!
The pink rat came to a fast start and then they all caught up to each other, and then the pink one pulled ahead, and then the other ones pulled ahead, and then suddenly there was the final stretch; the pink took off and it reached the finish line…and oh my gosh I just won a brand new car!!
It was seriously so surreal and incredible, I just ran across the stage naturally to the car and the model next to the car held up a license plate and said winner and gave it to me and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing because I just really, really, really couldn’t believe it was happening!!!
Spin. The. Wheel! And The Showcase
Still in shock, I was now waiting backstage so that I could have a turn at spinning the wheel. When it was my turn to Spin The Wheel, I actually tied with another contestant so we had to do a tiebreaker. The wheel is actually a lot heavier than I thought and I really did need to use two hands and get some leverage to pull it down hard. I knew it had to spin at least one rotation around which obviously I know because I’ve been watching the show since I was a kid. Luckily, I won the tie and that meant I was going to the Showcase!
Backstage during breaks and set changes, Drew told some jokes and chatted with me a bit. It was almost time for the Showcase. I was a top winner for the day and another woman, Patricia, joined me at her podium as we listened to the first showcase options: A trip to Hilton Head, some jewelry, and a brand new car.
I always said that if I was on the Showcase I would pass the first package to see what the next option was so I did. I actually said on the show that I was passing the Showcase so my competitor could have a chance at a car because I already won one – ha! My Showcase consisted of a pontoon boat, two bikes, and new iPhones. My first thought was “I will never be able to store a pontoon boat in my Los Angeles apartment parking complex–but it would be cool to have!”
I had no idea what to bid honestly; did the trailer come with? Did the engine come with it or was it a double engine? Just some questions I had racing through my mind but had no idea if I had time to ask and honestly just had no idea because it was time to start bidding. My bid was $28,000 and then we went to a break. Upon return, I learned I overbid by several thousand and Patricia was close to her Showcase amount, so she won the Showcase! I was so happy for her because we had both won cars on The Price is Right and we befriended each other right away because we were also both teachers!
After the Show
We were told to go get our driver’s license and information because we are going to be taken downstairs to sign a bunch of paperwork. When we got downstairs, everyone was still in disbelief that they had won things; it was all of the winners from that episode together in one room after they had just won thousands and thousands of dollars worth of prizes.
We had to sign paperwork saying we would not tell anyone what we won on the show before the airing or our prizes would be revoked. I signed on multiple dotted lines because I was just waiting to go see Ben so that we could be on cloud nine together!
We finally met up. It was so exciting, we were smiling ear-to-ear. We had to wait until February 4th, 2016 for the world to watch the episode. It was so hard to keep this secret from so many people, including our parents, and the day the show aired people were coming out of the woodwork texting, messaging, congratulating – it was fantastic!
After the show aired we connected with Kia so that I could get my Kia Soul which was extremely exciting. Yes, I did have to pay taxes–in fact, about $2,000–but hey, that’s pretty good for a new car! I still drive it to this day and each year I like to post on my social media platforms on October 26th and February 4th, the day the show was filmed and aired. I’m always happy to answer everyone’s questions and tell the story over and over again. It was such a memorable experience and if you ever get the chance I highly recommend it!