Caught up in the deafening roar of the audience, Shannon Loftus cheered in unison with the rest of the crowd as Rich Fields announced the third round’s new contestant. Enthralled by the radiant display of glittering lights and retro-’70s music, Loftus was abruptly distracted by the frantic screams of two of her Middle Earth residents. Confused, her glance shifted towards to the front of the stage to realize that she was the next contestant to be called down on ‘The Price is Right.’ Reluctantly rolling out of bed at 6:30 a.m. that morning, Loftus had no idea that she would have the opportunity to participate, much less win the showcase showdown.
‘I was really surprised, I had no idea. It didn’t seem like a day where, ‘Oh I’m gonna be on TV!’ I was just like, ‘Oh I’m taking my hall. This is gonna be fun,” said Loftus, a fourth-year English major and resident advisor of Elrond Hall.
In cooperation with two other resident advisers from Calmindon and Mirkwood, the three halls organized a trip to go see ‘The Price is Right.’ Upon their arrival, they were met by a long line and hours of waiting. Seated on several rows of benches for what seemed like an eternity, they were each given numbers ranging from 1-200.
‘Somewhere in between the waiting they take you in groups of 10 and they do sort of an interview process. Basically, all they did was ask us ‘What school do you go to?’ ‘What’s your major?’ and they also asked us, ‘What’s your favorite game besides Plinko?’ And like the only game I could think of was Plinko, so I was like, ‘I don’t know. Just anything where you could win a car,” Loftus said.
After several hours and pages of paperwork, they were finally allowed into the showroom. Following a pre-show preparation of the audience and an amusing Bob Barker Oath, the show finally commenced, not yet calling anyone from the Middle Earth group.
‘They did four people in the beginning and [none of them were us], so I was like, ‘Oh I hope somebody gets called up later on,’ because I thought that it would be really exciting to know somebody who’s up there,’ Loftus said.
Little did she know it would be her.
Loftus nervously turned around to seek help for a bid on men’s watches. Unsure of what to say, she apprehensively went with a bid yelled out by one of her residents.
Not remembering her bid in all the excitement, Loftus didn’t find out she had won until her booth suddenly started blinking.
‘I didn’t really know that I had won, because you can’t see it. There’s no screen or anything, so I didn’t find out until all of a sudden my little booth starts blinking, and I was like, ‘Oh it’s me,’ and I was all excited,’ Loftus said.
Loftus kissed Bob Barker on the cheek ‘because that’s what all the girls do on TV,’ and played a poker game for the chance to win four prizes: a washer/dryer, dinette set, vacuum cleaner and an accessory.
‘It was really funny because all my residents play poker all the time but I never played because they’re all gambling and I have no money to lose. So when I found out it was a poker game I looked back at the audience and I was like, ‘Ooooh poker! You have to help me!” Loftus said.
With the help of her residents and a little bit of luck, she won the poker game and all four prizes.
But her luck didn’t run out just yet. Spinning a 65 on the wheel for the second half of the show, Loftus turned to see everyone in the audience rooting for her to spin again. Luckily, she ended up with 85 cents and advanced to the Showcase Showdown.
Once there, Loftus bid $25,000 on the first showcase, which included a karaoke machine, a piano and a Dodge Ram.
Waiting in suspenseful agony as they first announced her opponent’s results, she learned that he had bid over the original retail price.
‘I was really afraid that I might have overbid too, but then he said mine was under $26,000, and as soon as I heard the 26 I started jumping up and down because I was really excited and I knew I had won,’ Loftus said. ‘I was in complete shock.’
After hearing the wonderful announcement, everyone from Middle Earth joined Loftus on stage to congratulate her on her fortunate victory.
Of the prizes she won, Loftus is only planning on keeping the piano, karaoke machine and washer and dryer. She chose to sell the Dodge Ram since her own car, a Honda Civic, is more practical as far as gas mileage and getting around Irvine. The money from the Dodge will be divided between investments and charity.
Looking back at the entire event, Loftus said, ‘I’m real excited about it, but at the same time I have to be like it’s just a game show. It’s not like a life changing thing. It was kind of just a nice graduation package.’