Mukilteo woman wins $56,000 in prizes on 'Price is Right' game show

By Sara Bruestle | May 28, 2014
Courtesy of: Wendy Botzheim Kathy Collins, of Mukilteo, far right, was a contestant on the Price is Right in an episode that aired May 27. With her are friends Robert and Wendy Botzheim and her fiancé Paul Reynolds.

When Kathy Collins played the "Price is Right," she priced everything, well, right.

Collins, of Mukilteo, won not one, but two cars and other prizes valued at a total of $56,000 when she played the television game show.

In the show, which aired May 27 on Channel 7, Collins had to compete with other contestants by accurately pricing merchandise to win prizes.

“I couldn’t believe how lucky I was,” said Collins, who has watched the show for years. “I mean, I couldn’t trip wrong that day. It was a good winner day. I did everything right, I guess. Oh my God, who wins two cars, right?

“You’re under so much pressure, but it was incredible. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life.”

Six or nine contestants are narrowed down to a top two by playing one of nine pricing games. The top two get to compete in the show's showcase, which typically features a new car.

Players guess the prices of prizes shown for a chance to move on to a pricing game. The contestant whose bid is closest to the actual retail price of the prize – without going over – wins that prize and gets to continue playing.

Collins, 54, was the last contestant called down to play. The prize was a portable stereo, and she bid $600.

“I had one shot to go down and give it my best shot,” she said.

She nailed it on the bid.

Collins then played the pricing game “A Little Too Much,” where the prize to win was a brand new Honda Accord. As sample prices were revealed, she had to pick which one went over the actual price of the Honda.

By the third price, she said the phrase “That’s a little too much.” The car started honking. She had won the Honda, valued at $24,500.

Then she got to spin the Price is Right wheel to try to get closest to $1. She first spun 60 cents. All she needed was 35 cents on her second spin to beat another contestant’s 80 cents.

She spun it again and it landed on 35 cents. She had the highest winnings.

With that, she had made it to the showcase, the last game where the closest bidder wins a grand prize.

“By then, I couldn’t even breathe,” she said. “You lose all your saliva, you get so excited. I had to breathe into a brown paper bag when I was backstage, I was so excited.

“I didn’t think I was going to win the showcase. I was just happy with the car.”

Her showcase prizes were another brand new car – a Ford Fiesta – an all-inclusive trip for four to Antigua, a range oven, blenders, a seven-piece bakeware and a cake, valued at a total of $31,500.

The other top contestant bid $38,000 on their showcase. Collins knew in her gut that that guess was too high.

So she bid $1 on her showcase.

“I felt kind of sorry for her; I felt like such a jerk,” she said. “Because nobody does that. They do it in the bidding, but they don’t do that on the showcase.”

She auditioned for the show at the Bob Barker Studio in Hollywood seven weeks before her episode aired. She went with her fiancé, Paul Reynolds, and their best friends Robert and Wendy Botzheim. They all wore T-shirts that said “Go Blue Drew.”

Wendy Botzheim is somewhat of a luck charm. She has gone to the show four times, and each of those times either she or someone she’s with has been called down to play the game. Botzheim won power tools when she played in 2012.

“She told me, you’re the type of person, you’re outgoing, you might get picked,” Collins said. “And, you know what? I kind of had the feeling I might get picked, [too]. Let’s give it a shot.”

Botzheim won’t take credit for Collins’ wins.

“She got it on her own merits,” Botzheim said. “She was the contestant who got picked just for being Kathy Collins.

“Kathy is like a windfall. She just gets good graces; good things happen to her. She just played a great game. It was awesome to watch her play.”

Collins competed against five other contestants in front of a studio audience of about 300. Two shows were recorded the same day.

Actor and comedian Drew Carey now hosts the show. He replaced longest-running host Bob Barker in 2007, who was with the show from 1972 until his retirement.

“Drew Carey is an awesome game show host,” Collins said. “He smells good, he dances, he tells jokes. I really enjoyed him.

“You’re just entertained the whole time, and the audience is pumped up. It’s just a lot of fun.”

In a twist of fate, just before the taping, Collins purchased two Price is Right key rings from the gift shop. Her plan was to spin them around on her fingers to help her get noticed in the audience.

“I bought two,” she said. “Not one, but two.”

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