Southern Utah News Articles
Car 'Price is Right' for Swapp
The price of the 2015 Dodge Dart was right for Marianne Swapp of Kanab ... it was free! Swapp was the grand prize winner of the car when she was a contestant November 10, 2014, on ‘The Price is Right’ game show. The caveat was that Swapp couldn’t tell anyone about her big win ... until the show aired last week.
“I couldn’t tell anyone until the show aired – at the risk of losing the prizes,” said Swapp. “That was the hardest thing to do, just to keep my mouth shut!”
The whole adventure began when Swapp’s daughters Gwen Brown and Sheri McEntire, asked what she wanted for her 80th birthday. “I told them since I had watched and enjoyed ‘The Price is Right’ for years, I would like to go to a taping of the show in California.”
Daughter Gwen made the arrangements, and secured the free tickets online. Niece Jean Gehman, nephew Alan McAllister and McEntire would be accompanying them. The visitors stayed Sunday through Tuesday at McAllister’s house in Fontana, Calif. Their tickets were for the show that would be taped at the Los Angeles set on Monday.
“Thinking back, I think one of the funniest things about our trip to California was when Gwen kept saying, ‘Mom, I just know you’re going to get on the show and win a new car!’ I told her that’d be nice, my car is 16 years old!”
Swapp said the game show’s atmosphere was exciting. She had watched host Bob Barker for 42 years, but current host Drew Carey was personable and did a good job as emcee. All audience members are eligible to be called up to be a contestant, but only a few get the opportunity. So you have to be lucky to get called.
On the show, four contestants from the audience are called to the front just below the stage. They are given the opportunity to bid on a prize, and the contestant who bids closest to the prize without going over, wins the prize. Swapp’s name was called to ‘come on down!’
“I guessed closest to the price of a lawn and garden package,” recalled Swapp. “It had a lawnmower, wheelbarrow – seven items altogether. The win qualified me for a chance to go up on stage.”
Swapp said she was astounded to have gotten that far. “I don’t even know how I got picked. I was so in shock, it’s hard to even remember everything. My family was just going nuts. Gwen even accidentally stood on her purse!”
She shook hands and chatted briefly with Drew Carey. Then announcer George Gray said that for Swapp’s clean living, she was going to have the opportunity to win a clean brand new 2015 Dodge Dart!
“The crowd was so behind me,” Swapp said, adding with a laugh, “I don’t know if it was because I am old or what. They kept chanting, ‘Mary...Mary...Mary.’ It was so fun.”
To win the car, five price tags were brought out and she was to pick the correct price of the car. But before that, she was shown five items with a price tag in front of them, and she was supposed to say whether the price was true or false.
“I ended up with three chances to win,” explained Swapp. “I picked the first one wrong. My second guess was the real price of the car. No one was more shocked!”
Due to the nondisclosure agreement concerning not revealing anything until the show’s January 21 airdate, they weren’t allowed to take any pics of Swapp’s winnings. And as mentioned before, they could tell no one! “That was so hard,” said Swapp. “You can imagine how excited we all were. I couldn’t even tell my brother when we went out to supper with him later in the day!”
But that’s all in the past now – since the show aired Swapp is a local celebrity! “I’ve had so many people call to congratulate me. I’ve even had several calls from people I haven’t heard from in a long time.”
The only thing left for Swapp to do now is wait for her lawn items and new wheels to arrive! Swapp said car color will be at the discretion of the dealer. “I just have to pay taxes on it,” said Swapp, “and any upgrades I want.”
So it’s fair to say it will be hard to top Marianne Swapp’s 80th birthday. “Anyone who enjoys game shows should try to see one being taped. It was such a wonderful experience. I can’t wait until I get my new car!”