It was a high energy, high stakes evening at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Thursday, January 17 when America's most exciting game show, The Price Is Right, came to town. Fans from New York to San Francisco traveled across the country to try their luck at becoming a contestant on Price's 30th Anniversary Primetime Special. "My sister called me and said, 'Hey, let's go to The Price Is Right,' and I said, 'I'm there!' And I'm really happy to be here," professed Mary Jenkins from Trenton, New Jersey. Thousands of diehard fans began arriving at the Rio's Samba Theater as early as 2:30AM trying to get a ticket to the show. "I was so scared I wasn't going to get in," admitted a Las Vegas native, Tonya Jellison. "We were in the right place, I guess."
Backstage, Price cast and crew hustled to get the party started. The crew began arriving almost a week early to prepare for the huge undertaking of building the stage from the ground up. The chosen games had arrived by truck. All of the light bulbs had been individually unwrapped. The rehearsal began and BOB BARKER welcomed the fabulous Rio showgirls to take part in their celebration. Barker Beauty HEATHER KOZAR arrived in town with a bit of the flu, but didn't let it get her down. "It's very exciting because there's something like fifteen hundred seats [in this theater]," Heather explained. "We only have two hundred seats in our little studio." Beauty CLAUDIA JORDAN was also excited. "I love Vegas!" she exclaimed. "I was so happy when I found out we were coming to Vegas."
From T-shirts with special messages for Bob, to groups breaking out into song, to a fan in a full Leprechaun costume, many turned out just to see Bob and test their pricing skills. The favored game seemed to be Plinko and everyone had an idea of what they would like to win. "A car, of course," exclaimed Price enthusiast Shivonn Geeb. "Cash. It's all I want," revealed another devotee. Some fans even extended their vacation just to stay in Vegas for the taping. "I think The Price Is Right has the rowdiest fans," Claudia confessed. "It's fun to see how excited they are." Nothing could keep the fans from giving up hope. "I would have waited all night long for this," raved one excited follower from Wisconsin. "This is a dream come true."
As the lines became more orderly and the show neared, fans anticipated the producer's interview. It was time to impress the judge. Producer Phil Rossi walked down the line and spoke to every fan to find out a little bit about them, like where they were from and their occupation. It was up to him to decide who would be the lucky nine contestants. Would it be the housewife from Missouri, the retired military officer from Texas, the account manager from San Francisco, or maybe the Korean woman who's mother learned English from watching Bob Barker? It was a tough choice with so many great stories, but only one man knew the answer - and he wasn't telling!
The anxious audience finally filed into the theater as clips of memorable Price moments played on two big screens. After being in line for close to 17 hours, these fans had not lost their enthusiasm or their spark. They were clearly ready to start the show. And when Bob Barker walked out...the crowd went wild! During the breaks, Bob was delighted to interact with the crowd. Some asked questions, some just wanted to say hello. It was a touching moment when a New York Fireman presented Bob with a FDNY baseball hat and the audience gave a standing ovation.
Be sure to tune in Thursday, January 31 at 8:00PM to catch all the action in Vegas. You won't want to miss the many moving moments - or the incredible prizes!