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Local man wins big on game show
“Zechariah Freeman — come on down! You are the next contestant on The Price is Right.”
That is what one local resident heard on Jan. 8 when he was chosen from more than 325 people anxious to participate on “The Price is Right” television game show. The CBS network show aired locally on Wednesday.
Freeman won two Nikon digital cameras and then went on to win 10 ski passes and trips to Utah and New Orleans — and a chance to spin the famed money wheel.
After turning the money wheel, he qualified to participate in the Showcase Showdown, but he overbid and lost his chance at winning a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro.
By the time the show ended, Freeman still walked away with $12,710.24 in prizes — and one very happy fiance.
“It was a blast,” Freeman said. “I would go again. Even if I had not been picked, I’d go again.”
The Porterville resident credits his family business for helping him get on the show.
“My family has owned Poor Richard’s Pizza since 1970. I have worked there since I was a child,” he said. “That is the reason I told the producer I am a ‘Grand Master Pizza Chef.’ The five minutes that I talked to the producer, it was in regards to the secrets of making a perfect pizza.”
Freeman said he’s been watching the game show, and playing along — calling out numbers and prices to the television — since he was in fifth grade.
“In elementary school, we were on the track program. I was off school for one full month every three months,” Freeman said. “I’d always watch ‘The Price is Right’ and always tried to guess.”
He got pretty good at it, he said.
“I always wanted to go and finally I just decided to go for it,” Freeman said.
After researching the best ways to be noticed, Freeman opted to grow a handle bar mustache.
Newly betrothed on Jan. 1 to Bryn Buecheler, the couple donned bright colored T-shirts — his had a photo of himself, hers’ said: “Must Stash Some Honeymoon Cash” — for the show.
“I had a feeling I might have been chosen,” Freeman said. “When we first got there, we waited outside in line. They came and took us in 10 at a time. They interviewed everyone for a few minutes, but with me, they kept talking to me so I had a feeling I would get picked.”
He only had one rule to follow, he said.
“Pretty much the only rule was ‘Do not stand in front of Drew,’” Freeman said, referring to the game show host, Drew Carey. “They also told us that they were still watching us and that they can change their mind about us.”
Freeman did not have to pretend while he was on the show.
“I was being wild the whole time,” he said. “But then that’s how I am all the time. I’m kind of a crazy guy.”
Freeman said he will take the two trips, six days at each location, when he marries his bride-to-be on Jan. 4, 2014.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.