By Patrick McArdle
Carrie Clarke came on down because, on July 31, she was the next contestant on “The Price is Right.”
Clarke, a public accountant in Rutland, an adjunct professor at the College of St. Joseph, and a motivational speaker, wasn’t the big winner on the episode, which aired Oct. 27, but she did take home a little more than $8,000 in prizes, which were two smart watches and a trip for two to Vienna.
She also came away from the Los Angeles taping with a positive opinion of host Drew Carey.
“He was wonderful. Really down to earth,” Clarke said. “I was really nervous. I was shaking. And when I got (the winning bid on the watches) I crawled up on the stage and I popped up and jumped on him.”
She said Carey, who has hosted the game show since 2007, was easygoing. “I asked if I could hold his hand ’cause I was shaking. He was really nice about the whole thing. He held my hand and leaned over to me and said, ‘I hope you win.’”
Asked if she wore a costume, Clarke laughed and said “everyone mixes it up,” but pointed out the game show where contestants wear costumes is “Let’s Make a Deal.”
“The Price is Right” starts by calling four members of the audience to be contestants. After one advances, other audience members are called to take their places.
Clarke said she was the first called after the initial four.
Contestants advance by bidding the closest to the actual retail price of a prize without going over. Clarke was the winning bidder on a pair of smart watches, which gave her the chance to join Carey on the stage and spin the “Wheel.”
“I remember, I was wearing this necklace. I had on my angel necklace, and I held on tight to it and I just started praying. I said, ‘If I’m meant to be on the stage, please get me there.’ I just released it to the universe,” she said about winning the chance to advance to the Showcase Showdown.
For the wheel game, contestants spin a large wheel marked with different amounts. The goal is to get as close to $1 as possible, using either one or two spins, without going over.
“I did the two spins, got 95 cents and I thought, ‘Oh, my God. This is it. I’m going to the Showcase Showdown,’” Clarke said. “But I didn’t make it to the Showcase Showdown.”
Three people spun the Big Wheel and a man who spun after Clarke landed on $1, the only amount that could beat her 95 cents.
But, Clarke said she was grateful to have a childhood dream come true. As a 3-year-old who watched the show daily, she told her grandmother that one day she would be on “The Price is Right.”
In October 2016, Clarke made plans for a trip to California to watch a taping of the show, but the friend with whom she planned to make the trip had to cancel.
In July, she went to Los Angeles with another friend, Lesley Wolfe, from Vancouver.
Clarke said she was a little disappointed at first when she finally made it inside the studio, because she was sitting in the back corner and she didn’t have a good view of the stage.
“But you couldn’t deny the energy in the room and how excited people were,” she said. “They had music blaring and it was just a tremendous amount of excitement.”
While playing the game, Clarke said her television watching at her grandmother’s house paid off.
“I used methods that I had learned from watching the show for several years,” she said.
Early in the show, Clarke got to announce that she was from Rutland, Vermont, and remembering that being on “The Price is Right” had been “on my bucket list since I was 3,” she trusted the next step would come.
“In the moment of a screaming audience with people and cameras swirling all over the place, I found peace in the room. I just said, ‘Put me up there,’” she said.
Last week, Clarke watched her episode with her friends, Ed and Karen Allen, in Fair Haven. But she knows many others in the area have seen it as well.
“My phone has been like really hot. People have been texting me, left and right,” she said.
Making her television dream come true ties in with Clarke’s work as a motivational speaker, she said.
“It’s just really coming full circle with believing that you can do anything, setting the intention of something you’ve wanted and staying true to it and following through with it,” Clarke said.
After being a contestant, Clarke is not allowed to be on the show again for 10 years, but she offered advice to others who may make their way to a television game show they love.
“Just be yourself,” she said. “Believe you can get on the stage and your passion will come through.”