Dressed in home-made shirts and full of pent-up excitement, more than 500 potential stars came on down to Gulfstream Park Sunday afternoon for a chance to be on the game show The Price Is Right.
The CBS show held a casting call for the first time in South Florida to pick two semifinalists to appear on the show, which is filmed in California, and fans of the show, like sisters Beverly Ward and Roberta Bonfiglio, were ecstatic.
“I’m so excited, we were here at 10 this morning, we were talking about it last night, we made our shirts last night, it’s really a lot of fun,” said Ward, one of the more than 500 people who showed up at the event.
The two women, who both moved to South Florida from Akron, Ohio, donned bright yellow shirts with a message to the show’s host, Drew Carey, a Cleveland native, which read in part, “Drew left Cleveland came to L.A., the Price Is Right came his way...so call us Drew and you will view, two more Buckeyes just like you.”
“We’ve been here most of our lives, but once a Buckeye always a Buckeye,” said Ward. “This is on my bucket list so I hope they pick me, just to scratch it off.”
Two other women, Shirley Simpson of Davie and Sabrina Roper of Fort Lauderdale, showed up even earlier — at about 9 a.m. — and were some of the first to audition.
The organizers called people up and set them up in front of one of four cameras, then gave the potential contestants 30 seconds or less to make their pitch on why they should appear on the show.
“This was my first time doing this, I’ve never been to a casting call of anything,” said Roper, who wore a colorful striped shirt with nails to match.
Even a veteran of casting calls like Leslie Bowe, who successfully auditioned for Wheel of Fortune last year, showed his spirit with a custom haircut of the show’s logo on the back of his head.
“It took me about an hour today with my barber, I got him up on a Sunday and got him to take care of this,” said Bowe.
Many of the auditionees said they were motivated by the chance to win prize money, or a new car, but also would settle for a chance to be in the audience.
“My hope is that I get called to be able to go,” said Roper. “That’s a dream come true for me and my kids. Just to be able to have the opportunity is amazing.”
Inside the Sport of Kings Arena at the park, the hopefuls were everything from loud and expressive to tame and brief — using only a few seconds of the 30 they were given. Rosalie Kolesar, an English professor at Miami Dade College, stood out as she broke into Japanese near the end of her audition, hoping to stand out.
“When I was living in Japan I used to go to California all the time and thought maybe I could get on a game show there,” Kolesar said.
A common thread among the people auditioning was a love for host Carey and anticipation for greeting him if they make it on stage.
“To be honest, I might just jump on the man,” said Roper. “I love Drew Carey, even his stuff when he was a comedian, he’s just a loveable person.”
The potential contestants said they are supposed to hear from the show in about six weeks to find out if they’ve been chosen for one of the two spots. And Bonfiglio has her strategy plotted out as she waits for what she hopes is good news.
“I’m going to read the book ‘The Secret’ because you get what you want out of it,” said Bonfiglio. “So, I’m going to keep right on reading until I appear.”