In preparation for a recent trip to California, Rachel Wright booked flights and reserved hotel rooms. Her boyfriend got tickets for The Price Is Right.
Before their trip, Wright trained for the Disney half marathon she would run in Anaheim. Her boyfriend, Pete Castles, taped and watched "every episode" of The Price Is Right.
"He really, really wanted to be on the show," Wright said.
But on Sept. 3, during the taping in the Bob Barker Studio at CBS TV City in Los Angeles for Tuesday's episode, Castles wasn't invited to "come on down."
His girlfriend was.
Wright, a 28-year-old civil engineer who lives in Holiday, couldn't tell us what games she played or whether she won, but she talked with the Tampa Bay Times about the experience:
When you took your seat in the studio, what did you expect the afternoon might be like?
I knew it was going to be a lot of fun. They had such a great energy in there. They had music going, and this guy on stage getting everybody excited.
How big a part of your life was The Price Is Right before your trip?
I had watched The Price Is Right growing up with my mom. Over the summers, we would have it on during lunch time. You don't get to see it during lunch when you start working.
And how into the show was your boyfriend?
He is a huge fan of The Price Is Right. He stalked the website (for available tickets) and signed up as soon as they showed up. He was really excited about it, leading up to the show. He was keeping track of how much everything is worth in California.
First thought you had when you stood from your seat to run to the front to bid:
"Oh my gosh, that's my name. I have to go up here now?" It was surreal, to be honest. I was shell-shocked.
How did your boyfriend respond upon you being invited to be a contestant?
He had a gut feeling it was me that was going to get picked instead of him. I said, "You're going to get picked. You're the one who wants to be here." His jaw just dropped.
Is Drew Carey — the show's host — awesome in real life?
Yes, he absolutely is. He is hysterical. I've always been a Drew Carey fan. I used to watch The Drew Carey Show, and Whose Line Is It Anyway? I actually (already) met him at Disney World for the Disney World Marathon in January, (but) it was really cool to see him in his element.
What was the most profound statement Drew Carey made to you on the set?
I don't know if it's profound, but he teased me for making a horrible bid: "Okay, then. So that's how you're going to play this."
At first, I was a little embarrassed, because my friends and my family and co-workers are going to laugh at me for getting teased by Drew Carey.
Where will you watch the show when it airs, and with whom?
I'll probably DVR it and watch it on Thanksgiving with my family. (Castles) told his mom (who lives in Hayesville, N.C.) and she's got the entire state of North Carolina watching.