York woman wins 'Price Is Right' showcase

| Saturday, March 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cynthia Thomas got more than a yellow nametag on March 5 when she visited “The Price Is Right.”

She got to talk into the skinny microphone, make friends with contestants — and win the showcase.

“I was blindsided,” Thomas said. “I have not watched ‘The Price Is Right' since college. My mind shut down.”

Thomas went on the show with her sister, Sandra Moore, and her mother, Elizabeth Moore, who both live out of state. They went to the California show to celebrate Elizabeth's 67th birthday. Elizabeth is a big fan, and Thomas credits her with the win.

“My mom watches it every day,” Thomas said. “My strategy was to look at her and do what she told me to do.”

Her sister helped, too. Sandra's suggested bid of $1,700 helped Thomas win the first round. The kayak package they bid on had a suggested retail price of $2,000.

Thomas didn't win her next game, because she was off by one number. But, her spin of 95 on the wheel earned her a spot in the showcase. She went on to win it all.

“I got so much encouragement from the audience,” she said. “It was unbelievable.”

Even host Drew Carey told Thomas that he was rooting for her.

Thomas won a pair of kayaks with accessories, a ski package to Vermont and a 2013 Dodge Avenger sedan.

She also got a behind-the-scenes look at the family-friendly game show people have been watching since 1972.

“They have hidden producers out in the audience,” Thomas said. “They look like regular people. They gauge people's personality to see if you would be good for the show.”

Megan Barker, publicist for “The Price is Right,” said Carey and other show organizers keep up audience energy through commercial breaks by telling jokes and playing extra games.

“The atmosphere is probably one of the most exciting that you will find on a game show,” Barker said. “Audience involvement is definitely a huge part of it.”

If a contestant is called to the stage and loses on the first round, he or she still receives $300, Thomas said. Another fun fact is that after the show, a mini-game show gives other audience members the chance to win $100.

Winners do not get their prizes until after the show airs and the proper paperwork gets to the right people.

“It's a free car, but there are a lot of taxes,” Thomas said.

Thomas received a notice in the mail on Wednesday telling her how much she must pay to California — which has a 7 percent tax on game-show winnings — and Pennsylvania before she can collect her winnings. She owes about $5,000.

Thomas said that isn't a bad price to pay for her winnings, which she will share with her mom.

They might need to pay for a few extra skiing lessons before their trip, though.

“My mother has never been skiing in her life,” Thomas said. “I've only been once.”

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