Tammy Barber, come on down!: Oxford woman wins car, $11K on iconic game show

Oxford resident Tammy Barber made it out of contestants' row and on stage with Drew Carey, host of "The Price is Right." Photo provided by The Price is Right.
Oxford resident Tammy Barber made it out of contestants’ row and on stage with Drew Carey, host of “The Price is Right.” Photo provided by The Price is Right.

Tammy Barber heard those magic words that every fan of “The Price is Right” longs to hear – “Come on down!”

She appeared as a contestant in the episode that aired Dec. 5 on CBS Detroit Channel 62.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” said the 46-year-old Oxford resident. “I can’t believe it. It’s so unreal.”

Barber is a “huge fan” of the popular game show that’s been a daytime staple since 1972 and has been watching it “for as long as I can remember.”

As a kid, it was “always a treat” if she was sick to stay home from school and watch “The Price is Right” with her father, who worked a third-shift job back in those days.

In early September, she was visiting her girlfriend, Jenny Weaver, in Richmond, Texas, when the pair decided to take advantage of an airfare deal and fly to California to cross being on the game show off their “bucket list.”

“I can’t imagine anybody who watches the show not dreaming of being on it,” she said. “Everyday people, just normal you-and-me people, are out there winning prizes. It’s just exciting.”

The process to get in the show is quite lengthy, according to Barber. She said it involves waiting in line, getting your driver’s license scanned, having a photo taken and being interviewed by a producer.

Oxford resident Tammy Barber (right) and her friend Jenny Weaver pose outside CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California where "The Price is Right" is filmed.
Oxford resident Tammy Barber (right) and her friend Jenny Weaver pose outside CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California where “The Price is Right” is filmed.

“Everybody (in the audience of 300) gets interviewed,” Barber explained. “The more time he spends with you, the better chance you have. I like to believe I have a bubbly personality. I think that might have helped.”

Barber and Weaver attended show tapings on Sept. 7 and 8.

On the first day, her friend was picked as a contestant and won a television.

Barber thought she’d lost her shot.

“Once somebody in your party’s picked, you really think it’s over,” she said.

But when they returned the next day, lightning struck twice. Barber found herself on contestants’ row, then up on stage with the show’s host since 2007, comedian Drew Carey.

“He’s amazing – nicest guy, ever,” she said.

After hugging Carey, he whispered in her ear, “Just breathe, relax, it’s all good, congratulations.”

“He’s really just such a down-to-earth, amazing, great guy,” Barber said.

Barber got to play the Dice Game, a “Price is Right” staple since June 1976. During this game, contestants use large dice to roll the correct digits in the price of a car.

Luck was on her side because Barber won a 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES valued at $15,632.

She then proceeded to the Showcase Showdown where contestants spin a big wheel, the goal being to get $1, or as close to it as possible, in order to secure a spot in the Showcase, the show’s finale.

On her first spin, she landed on $1 and won $1,000. On her second spin, she landed on the 5-cent green bonus space and won an additional $10,000.

Barber made it to the finale, but didn’t win as her opponent’s bid was only $79 less than the actual price, so he got to take home both showcases full of prizes.

“That hardly ever happens,” Barber said.

But Barber is by no means disappointed, especially with a brand new car and a pile of cash to show for her efforts.

“From start to finish, the trip was just amazing. It was a dream come true,” she said. “Everybody on the entire show was wonderful. I was treated like gold.”

For her, the hardest part was keeping her appearance on the show and her winning a secret from her family.

Being interviewed by this reporter about the whole experience was both a thrill and a relief. “It’s so awesome to be able to share my story,” Barber said. “I have been keeping this in for three months.”

Prior to the show’s airing, she admitted she was nervous about her television debut.

“I’m scared,” she said. “I’m really afraid that I look like a lunatic.”

But after watching her appearance, Barber said, “It wasn’t as crazy as I thought. I was sure happy about that.”

The fun part for her was observing the surprised looks on the faces of her family members and friends as they watched her win big during a viewing party at her home.

“Nobody knew anything. I didn’t tell anybody,” she said. “To watch everyone else’s excitement was just as exciting as (being there).”

Looking back, Barber is still pretty shocked that she won so much.

“Everything happened so quickly,” she said. “It’s finally starting to sink in.”



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