County residents ‘come on down’ to ‘The Price is Right’

Wed, 10/14/2009 - 9:00am
By: Michael Boylan

County residents ‘come on down’ to ‘The Price is Right’ From left are Larry Seay, Mark Ballard and Ricky Seay. Photo/Michael Boylan.

Brothers Larry and Ricky Seay decided to take their brother-in-law Mark Ballard to Los Angeles for his birthday. Fans of the game show “The Price is Right,” the men went online to get tickets and add trying to get on to the show on their list of sightseeing events in L.A. What followed was a “most excellent” adventure that all three county residents are still wearing mile-wide smiles from.

“We went out there to have fun,” said Ricky. “And we did.”

The process to get in the audience for the show and possibly become a contestant is a long one, lasting over six hours and involving a lot of waiting around. To pass the time and amuse themselves, the men cut up with anyone and everyone around them, including other hopefuls, pages and producers. They are certain that their good humor and energy helped Larry and Ricky become contestants. Larry was called in the first taping and Ricky was called in the second.

“If we could have stayed for the third taping, I think Mark would have been called down too,” said Larry.

There were 600 people in line for the taping and the odds of getting two people on as contestants is rare. While in L.A., the guys heard about a California man who tried to get on 100 shows, made 82 tapings and had never been called up once.

In addition to their high spirits, the brothers sported t-shirts that read “The Price is Right” on the front and “Come on Down, Ya’ll” on the back. The shirts were made by J-Max Graphics and were signed by some of their fellow contestants and host Drew Carey.

Larry was the first person called down, although he didn’t hear his name.

“It’s so loud in there, that you have to look at the cue cards to see if your name is being called,” he said.

Larry, who sells sporting goods, had to make the first bid on a pair of his and her snowboards. His bid of $800 was the winning bid, although at first he thought another contestant had won. Larry made his way to the stage, but turned and found the camera right in his face, later telling Carey, “I almost nailed your cameraman.”

Larry played the game Side by Side and had to tell Carey whether he thought the price of an item was $7,555 or $5,575. Larry chose $7,555 and won a 65” television and a 15’ long Howard Miller entertainment center. Not only did he win the items, and high-five the models afterwards, but he also won a chance to make the Showcase Showdown. Larry spun the wheel, which he admitted was very heavy, but couldn’t be another contestant’s spin of 95 cents.

Ricky didn’t have as much luck as his brother. He made it on to contestant row, but couldn’t find a winning bid to make it on stage.

“It went by so fast,” explained Ricky. “I couldn’t hear the other bids very well and didn’t have time to think.”

Ricky wasn’t down about his lack of stage time though. He recalled Carey coming down during the breaks to bust his chops with some good natured ribbing.

“He told me, there’s only three games left, you know. What’s wrong with you?” Ricky said with a laugh. As a consolation prize, Ricky took home a coffee maker and $300 worth of lobster. The brothers are hoping that their prizes arrive around the same time so that they can enjoy some lobster while watching tv on the very big screen.

While the brothers were obviously very excited to make it on national television and win prize packages like Larry’s, all three men said that the people they met on their trip, at “The Price is Right’ and around L.A., were the best part of the trip. After the taping, they took pictures with the friends they made while waiting across the street from the studio and exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

“There were people in line that day who didn’t talk to another soul,” said Larry. “You have to be willing to make a fool of yourself and we have never had a problem with that.”

In addition to the taping, the men visited Santa Monica Pier, walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame, saw some filming of “The Closer,” ate at Mel’s Diner, and walked around Beverly Hills and talked to some people on Rodeo Drive, which they jokingly pronounced like the cowboy event and not like the chic neighborhood that it is. They were also in town during Michael Jackson’s memorial service and met a husband and wife team of L.A. radio personalities at the airport.

For the three Fayette County natives, it was a California dream.

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