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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    2 students to appear on game shows

    After winning more than $1,000 worth of prizes amd a new car, pre-education freshman Dominic Witter celebrates in a parking lot.
    After winning more than $1,000 worth of prizes amd a new car, pre-education freshman Dominic Witter celebrates in a parking lot.

    Two UA students won prizes on TV game shows that will be aired this week.

    Dominic Witter, a pre-education freshman, and Jessica Smallman, a marketing senior, came away winners from “”The Price is Right”” and “”Wheel of Fortune,”” respectively.

    Smallman participated in college week on “”Wheel of Fortune,”” which will air today, while Witter’s stint on “”The Price is Right”” will air tomorrow.

    “”I grew up watching ‘Wheel of Fortune,'”” said Smallman. “”I love to do word puzzles, so ‘Wheel of Fortune’ was a game show I thought I could have success on.””

    Witter said he has always been a fan of “”The Price is Right,”” which is television’s longest running game show in its 35th year of existence.

    Smallman tried out for “”Wheel of Fortune”” in Phoenix in March with hundreds of other hopeful contestants. She received an e-mail a few weeks later inviting her back for a second audition.

    The tryout was held in a small conference room with about 50 people who played simulated “”Wheel of Fortune”” games, Smallman said.

    Smallman was invited to be on an episode that was taped Sept. 14.

    Witter said he and a friend camped outside the studio of “”The Price is Right”” the night of Aug. 16 to ensure he could get into the show.

    “”By 6 a.m. the morning of the show, we were the first two people in a line that numbered over 500,”” Witter said.

    Bob Barker, host and executive producer of “”The Price is Right,”” said he enjoys seeing the enthusiasm college students have for the show.

    “”Groups of students from all over the country attend the show regularly,”” Barker said via e-mail.

    Unfortunately, hundreds of potential contestants like Witter are turned away at the door for every show, said Barker.

    Barker said the chances of being a contestant are nine in 321, as there are nine players on every episode and 321 seats in the audience.

    “”The contestant coordinator interviews these people before they enter the studio and with an assistant, he decides which nine they think I can have the most fun with,”” Barker said via e-mail.

    The nine do not know they will be contestants, so when they are told to “”come on down,”” there is a wonderful spontaneous reaction, Barker said.

    Witter said he tried to stand out among the other contestants by showing he was excited to be there.

    “”I threw in the fact that UA was the best school in the nation hands down and chanted, ‘U of A’ as loud as I could multiple times when an ASU student in line decided to boo me,”” Witter said.

    Although Witter said his first bid was over the real price, he had the closest bid on the second item.

    “”I was so excited and happy that I hugged Bob and almost knocked him over,”” Witter said.

    In addition to winning $1,000 worth of luggage and a 2007 Ford Focus ZX7, Witter fulfilled his goal of spinning the wheel.

    “”I spun the wheel and got 85 cents, which is a pretty good spin on any other day,”” said Witter.

    In the 34 years that “”The Price is Right”” has been on CBS, the show has awarded approximately $300 million in cash and prizes, said Barker.

    Meanwhile, Smallman said she got to meet the famous “”Wheel of Fortune”” letter-turner, Vanna White.

    “”Vanna came into the contestant room before the taping, and she was very friendly and incredibly gorgeous, even without having her hair or makeup done,”” said Smallman.

    Smallman said that while the set was smaller than she imagined, the wheel was heavier.

    Smallman competed against students from Pepperdine University and the University of Maryland and won a total of $43,600 in cash and prizes. She plans to use some of her winnings to include Portugal, France and Italy in her trip to Spain.

    “”The rest of the money I will save so I can take my time finding a job after graduation in May,”” she said.

    Being able to meet students from schools all over the country was a great experience in itself, said Smallman.

    “”I don’t know what to compare it to,”” Smallman said. “”The actual taping of the show was a whirlwind.””

    In addition to his winnings, Witter said it was a great experience to have been on the show, and he was happy just seeing Bob Barker.

    “”I never actually thought that I would get picked to be on the show, but when I got up there, I enjoyed every minute of it,”” said Witter. “”Bob Barker was awesome, it was such a blast and I feel blessed to have had that opportunity.””

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