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Janesville native competes on “The Price is Right”

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Ted Sullivan
February 23, 2010

Stephanie Ferguson’s dream came true when “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey yelled, “Stephanie Ferguson, C’mon down!”


“I don’t even remember how I reacted, but I probably looked like a deer in headlights,” the Janesville native said. “I went down to contestant row and started hugging and jumping up and down with the other contestants.”


Ferguson was on “The Price is Right” in an episode that aired Monday. She won $2,600 in cash and prizes.


While Ferguson was growing up, she always wanted to be on “The Price is Right.” She and her sisters watched the show.


Ferguson graduated from Craig High School in 2004. Her parents are Tom and Debbie Ferguson of Janesville.


Ferguson moved to Newport Beach, Calif., to work for Abbott Laboratories. She immediately set her eyes on “The Price is Right.”


“When I moved out to California for my job, I put this on my list of ‘things to do in California,’” she said.


Ferguson and her roommate went to Los Angeles at 5 a.m. for the show. About 300 people were in line. They waited for hours and filled out questionnaires.


“One thing that surprises most people is that being selected for the show isn’t random,” Ferguson said. “They prescreen all of their audience members and interview them.”


But contestants don’t know if they’ll be called. Ferguson was stunned to hear her name. On contestant row, Ferguson bid $1,300 for a Vespa scooter.


“I knew as soon as Drew Carey said ‘$1499’ I won,” Ferguson said. “I ran up and gave Drew Carey a hug.”


Then she learned she would be playing Plinko, a game where the contestant drops chips down a pegged board for cash. Players can earn more chips by guessing the price of prizes.


“It hit me that I was about to play the most popular game in TV show history,” Ferguson said.


She earned three chips for the Plinko board and won $1,000.


Ferguson then advanced to spin the wheel to compete for a slot in the showcase showdown. She didn’t win.


“The wheel was surprisingly heavy,” she said. “I now understand how some people fall over when spinning it.”


Debbie Ferguson watched the show at home with her husband.


“Oh, I loved it,” Debbie said. “It was just so exciting.”


Stephanie also went to the “The Oprah Show” in Chicago last week and plans to attend the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in the future.


“She’s crazy,” Debbie said.



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