CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – As a Queen City News reporter Savannah Rudicel could tell you all sorts of fascinating stories.
But perhaps the most intriguing is the tale that’s become her entire family’s claim to fame.
“Your sister is on the Price is Right… no way!” her brother’s friends once said about the national TV appearance.
The iconic game show debuted on CBS 50 years ago, on September 4, 1972.
“Mic check 1-2-3,” Rudicel said, the pro she is.
Then she broke out, humming the game show’s theme song she grew up with.
“Everybody loves the Price is Right. I think it has the perfect blend of nostalgia and updated game show,” she said.
During our interview, Rudicel wore the same T-shirt she had on in 2015. It featured the head of host Drew Carey photoshopped with the beloved “Cliffhangers” game mountain climber. Her mother had a matching shirt as they tried to achieve a lifelong dream.
At 19, Savannah proved she had the right stuff to be a contestant.
“You know, someone that’s excited and happy to be there. Well, I could do that!” says Rudicel.
She heard those three iconic words: “Come on down!” But at first, she almost didn’t believe her ears.
“And then I hear, ‘Savannah Rudicel, come on down!’ And I think, ‘Wow, that’s so funny.’ I want it to be me so bad that I made that sound like my name,'” she recalls. “And I look up at the stage, and there’s a producer with a big whiteboard with my name on it like, ‘Come on, get down!’ And I was like, ‘Oh, oh, okay!'”
She was the first contestant to be selected for that episode. After settling in, she eventually got a spot on stage.
Rudicel bidded on two Samsung computer tablets and nailed it.
“900!” she guessed.
Rudicel could only laugh as she looked back at a recording of the show.
“You see, you just jump… You can’t help it; you’re just jumping,” she said, watching herself hop along with glee.
“I think I jumped straight up when he called my name! And just floated up to the stage. And I was thinking, ‘Don’t hurt Drew Carey, don’t hurt Drew Carey!” she told herself.
Immediately, she was beside herself, beside Carey, playing a game called Side by Side.
“I kind of like pulled the seven over and kind of wiggled it a little bit. And the whole crowd’s going… no, no, no!” she said.
“Such a ham!” Rudicel says now.
She won a trip to Orlando and even had a friendly chat with the model.
“And you could hear as it cut out to a commercial break… me tell Amber, ‘Oh my God, this is the best day of my life!'” she remembers.
The final challenge was the famed Showcase Showdown, another chance for Savannah to do the show’s bidding.
“They opened it up, and they were like, ‘It’s two motorcycles!’ And I was going, ‘Oh no… I don’t know anything about motorcycles.'” Rudicel thought to herself.
But wait, there’s more.
“And then they announced, ‘And a trip to Fiji!'” she continued. “And I was like, ‘Oh my God, a trip to Fiji. Okay, okay, this is a dream!'”
“Savannah, a couple of motorcycles in your showcase and a trip to Fiji; what more do you want?” Carey asked that day.
Just being on the set was all she wanted and more. But her bid wasn’t too shabby.
“20,940… you’re on your way to Fiji!” Carey declared.
“I remember the ding ding ding ding!” Rudicel said.
She took home nearly 28 thousand dollars in prizes.
“And like sprinted over to see my motorcycles and Fiji… and I’m just like, ‘Oh my God!’ And I am once again losing my mind,” said Rudicel. “All of the sudden, my mom’s up on stage with me, and we can’t do anything but jump… we’re just sitting; they’re jumping!”
The Price is Right memory might be the biggest prize she won that day.
“People just freak out when they win a new car, or even a weird dining room set,” Rudicel said of the show’s staying power.
She’s part of that legacy of pure excitement.
“My love only intensified after,” Rudicel said of her love for The Price is Right. “I didn’t think it could, but it did!”