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Local woman a contestant on 'Price Is Right'

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Deana Richardson's dream was to hear her name called to "come on down" and be a contestant on the game show.

By April Wright, Reporter

 She was so nervous and her heart was pounding so fast, Deana Richardson of Galax can't remember half of what happened as she ran from the audience to contestant row when she was asked to "Come on down" on "The Price is Right" on Oct. 4. 

But, she will get to see her reaction when the episode airs at 11 a.m. on CBS on Monday.

Richardson, 46, remembers watching the show when she was just a little girl with her grandpa Brown and grandma Thelma Rosenbaum, who passed away several years ago. Her grandma would say to Richardson, "Wouldn't you love to be on 'The Price is Right' and win a car?"

"I know it sounds silly, but being there made me feel closer to them," she said. 

Richardson, a Virginia sales manager for Unitrin insurance, said company meetings are held at a different city in the country every year, and this time, the meeting was held in California. Since she was making the trip, she thought that she would attempt to become a "Price is Right" contestant. 

Richardson woke up at 2 a.m. the day of the show and arrived at the studio at 3:30 a.m. to find there were already over 100 people camping out and standing in line. Only 255 people are allowed into the studio. 

Richardson said she didn't wear any fancy "Price is Right" shirt, like many of the other hopefuls had on, and she thought that would work against her chances of becoming a contestant. 

"When I watched the show, I wondered why people don't comb their hair," said Richardson. "But now I realize it's because people camp out all night. It was damp from rain the night before and a little windy. And I was sitting on the ground with white jeans on." 

At 6:30 a.m., the gates opened and men in "red jackets handed you a number and you were moved to stage two for paperwork and a name tag and the interview screening process," said Richardson. 

When she was asked to move into the holding area, the producer pronounced her name incorrectly, and instead called her "Diana.”

"'Is this correct?,'" the producer asked her. 

"I told him, 'I don't care what you call me, as long as you call me to come on down,'" said Richardson. "They got a laugh out of that." 

During the interview process, she explained that she had traveled across the country from Galax to "The Price is Right" in memory of her grandparents, who were devoted viewers of the show. 

"There were two shows that they absolutely loved — 'Mister Ed' and the 'Price is Right,'" said Richardson. "They would arrange their schedules just to watch those shows each day." 

Richardson and her husband Thomas were chosen to go into the studio for the taping at 12:30 p.m. When audience members walked into the studio area, the show crew immediately began to pump them up, she said. 

"The audience is dancing, cheering and screaming, as they play one song after another, like 'Y.M.C.A.,'” said Richardson. "The lights are flashing, and the energy that you see on TV is real because everyone is so energized from the pre-show." 

Richardson said before she made it into the studio, her husband would tease her about the "Bold and the Beautiful" soap opera, one of her favorite shows, which is filmed next door to "The Price is Right." 

"He would say, 'Look, here comes Brooke,' and I would fall for it every time," said Richardson of one of the show's characters. 

She almost missed the call to “come on down.”

"I was turned around talking to a lady, so when they called my name, I didn't  hear it, and when my husband said 'They called your name,' I didn't believe him, until people started going crazy telling me that they called my name."

When she turned to see that they had called her name, crew members were holding up poster boards with her name on it, telling her to come to contestant row. 

"It was so strange," she said. "It felt like an out-of-body experience. After waiting forever and dreaming that they would call my name, I didn't even hear them." 

Richardson said she was so pumped and nervous that she doesn't remember her reaction. Her husband told her she went "crazy" and hugged everyone as she made her way to the front. 

"I hope he's lying, but I don't know," said Richardson. "My heart was beating out of my chest. It was like I was dreaming." 

When she made her way up to host Drew Carey, she told him "God, you look good," she said, as she stood on stage. "I hope that's not on TV. I just meant it was great to be there." 

Richardson played the "Punch a Bunch" punchboard game. Richardson said she can't remember what she won from that game, and she won't receive the prizes from that until after the show airs on Monday.

She made it all the way to the Showcase, but she can't reveal if she won  until after the show airs. 

During commercial break, "Carey was just the nicest man," she said. "He talked to me about where I'm from and asked me how I liked California." 

"Do you believe in prayer?," she asked the other Showcase contestant. "When she said yes, we prayed that whoever needed the prizes the most would win them."

"To be one of about a dozen people called to contestant row on 'The Price is Right,' who would have dreamed that would have happened?," said Richardson. "It was just a nice experience, and I'm glad I got to see how it works."