By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The price was right for Ken Doney of Chinook, who made out like a bandit on Bob Barker's famed game show during an Oct. 7 filming.
The Montana Air National Guard member was stationed in Riverside, Calif., and decided to attend "The Price is Right" with some friends during a day off. The 12-hour wait in line proved to be well worth the time for Doney, who cleaned up on stage.
Among his winnings: A new Ford Explorer, a camper, a DVD player, a travel cooler, a motorcycle video arcade, a remote-controlled truck, a bread maker, a new set of dishes and a nine-piece power tool set. The total value of the winnings: $51,452.
"It really didn't hit me until after I won," Doney said Thursday. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal until it was on the air."
The episode of "The Price is Right" that features Doney aired Wednesday.
Doney called his wife, Marilyn, immediately after the show Oct. 7 to share news of his good fortune.
"She was like, 'Yeah, right,'" Doney recalls. "I had my buddies call her too, and she didn't believe them either."
Marilyn Doney said she thought her husband was pulling her leg when he called her after the show.
"He called me and said he was on 'The Price is Right,' and (that) he got onstage and won the showcase," she said. "Then he started reading off a list of all the things he won. I didn't believe him at all. Three other guys called me, and I didn't believe them either."
It was only after several days of maintaining his story that his wife began to believe him, Doney said.
"Maybe a couple of days later, she kept asking me about it and I kept telling her I won. She started thinking 'Well, maybe he did win,'" Doney said.
Doney said that while he was waiting in line to get on the show, producers came along and gave 15-second interviews to each person before they were taken into the studio.
Doney was one of four contestants to be called down to bid on a set of dishes. The air guardsman guessed the closest price for the prize without going over, and was taken on stage.
"They kind of said my name weird at first," he said about being called up. "They called it 'doe-nay,' like I was French or something."
Having already won a set of dishes worth nearly $800 and several other prizes, Doney was given a chance to win a new Ford Explorer.
His luck only got better. Doney accidentally caught a glimpse of a note card with the SUV's retail price on it.
"Bob and I both saw it, and he told me to play along and make a couple of wrong guesses to keep the crowd going," Doney said.
The director of publicity for daytime television for CBS, the network that airs "The Price is Right," said she could not immediately comment on the show.
After "winning" the vehicle, Doney then beat out several other competitors for a chance to win a showcase, which included a Hi-Lo trailer.
He won that as well.
"It was kind of neat coming out there and having people hugging you and shaking your hand," Doney said about leaving the show an instant celebrity.
Doney is now back at his job at the post office in Havre. The prizes are all being shipped to his home in Chinook. He has received everything except for the trailer, SUV, and arcade game.
"It's kind of been trickling in," he said. "We just got the dishes last week I also really like the power tools. Boy, they're awesome."
The Hi-Lo and the Ford Explorer are scheduled to arrive in January. Doney was allowed to pick the color of the SUV, although he had to pay extra for the four-wheel-drive option. The motorcycle arcade is also on the way, though Doney said he plans to sell it.
"It's pretty big," he said, stretching his arms wide. "I don't know where to put it."