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TV Thrills: Come on Down

This ASU student lived every couch potato's game show fantasy

 by Stephanie Berger
 published on Thursday, December 1, 2005

Photo by Tiffany Tcheng/State Press Magazine
Junior Ashley Robota made her television debut on
Photo by Tiffany Tcheng/State Press Magazine Junior Ashley Robota made her television debut on "The Price is Right." Here she's wearing her name tag from the show and holding an autographed picture of Bob Barker. We're slightly jealous. He's kind of dreamy in that old-man Hollywood kind of way.


"Come on down! You're the next contestant on 'The Price Is Right!'"

Although game-show buffs may hear this phrase in every morning's episode, biology junior Ashley Robota heard it directed at her.

Robota and 20 other students from the Arizona Outing Club attended a taping of "The Price Is Right" on Nov. 10 at the CBS studio in Los Angeles. In their yellow ASU T-shirts, Robota says they waited more than four hours outside the studio before the taping of the Christmas episode.

Robota says she was excited when a member of the Outing Club, a group in which members skydive, rock climb, camp and hike, planned a trip to the show.

"I was so stoked to go," she says. "I always watched it when I was home sick from school or home during the summers."

Of the more than 200 audience members, Robota was the last person called down to the Contestants' Row, the initial stage of the game where contestants bid on small prizes for a chance to get up on stage.

"I was in total shock," Robota says. "If you're ever called down as a contestant the rules say you can never be called down again, so as I got to the podium in the Contestants' Row I thought, 'Don't blow it, you've only got one chance.'"

Robota bid on a set of decorative Christmas plates, and even though her $500 guess was a long shot from the actual $1,000 price, she won because everyone else overbid. Once on stage, Robota played a tic-tac-toe game and won an MP3 player and a living room set, bringing her total winnings to a $5,000 value.

Although she knows it includes a couch, side couch and coffee table, Robota never saw her living room set because she was rushed onto the stage and to her game so quickly. She says she won't get to see or receive her prizes until after the show airs.

Robota also got to spin the wheel for a chance to make it to the Showcase Showdown, where two contestants face off to see who can bid closest to the value of a huge pack of prizes.

While she didn't make it to the showdown, she says she's more than happy with her winnings, and she plans to sell her prizes to help pay tuition and make improvements to her bicycle.

Fellow Outing Club member Bobby Huang, a business sophomore, was contestant No. 178. Robota was No. 180.

"When she was called it was a rush because she was right there," he says. "There were so many people around us and everyone was screaming."

Huang adds that he isn't jealous that he wasn't the one called up on stage.

"We all went together as a whole group, so we were all just cheering each other on no matter what," he says.

Bioengineering freshman Colotn Rearick agrees.

"I wanted to get on stage, but it was cool to see somebody we knew get on stage," he says. "It was also just cool to see how much work they go through just to make one show."

In addition to all the work, Huang says that he noticed the studio was freezing cold and much smaller than he expected it to be.

"It's not really that big. You see it on TV and it's so much smaller than you think. The audience and the stage are much smaller," she says.

But Robota says one of the biggest surprises was her instant celebrity status. She says the members of her group have started calling her "furniture girl."

"If they make fun of me, I tell them they can't sit on my couch," Robota says, laughing.

She adds that the next day when her group went to Six Flags, three people who had been at the taping recognized her in the park.

But Robota says she hopes her fame doesn't end up embarrassing her.

"I'm excited to watch the show on television," she says. "I know I jumped up and down when I won, but now I hope I didn't do anything stupid or have something in my teeth."

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