Whidbey Sonar technician finally able to say that he won big on The Price Right
By RON NEWBERRY
Whidbey News Times Staff Reporter
March 1, 2013 · Updated 3:32 PM
Brandon Lewis can finally reveal his big secret.
For nearly two months, he kept his lips sealed around co-workers at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. He was able to tell them he was on a game show, but couldn’t say how he fared. Loose lips could jeopardize his agreement.
But Wednesday morning, that all changed when The Price is Right aired his episode, revealing that Lewis not only appeared on the game show, he won the grand prize.
Lewis, an E-5 sonar technician who lives in Oak Harbor, was flooded with text messages on his iPhone.
“People on the East Coast saw it earlier,” Lewis said of the show, which was taped Jan. 7 but didn’t air until 10 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday. “About 9 o’clock in the morning my phone was going haywire.”
Lewis said he had nearly 60 text messages and voicemails by lunch time.
“Every time I checked one, a new one would come in,” he said with a laugh.
Lewis, 26, won an assortment of items on The Price is Right but his biggest prize was the Showcase Showdown, consisting of a 2013 Ford Escape, a vacation getaway to a tree-house resort in Medford, Ore., and a trampoline.
He won a desktop computer and $100 in cash on a game called “Punch a Bunch” before his spin on the big wheel landed on 85 cents (the closest to $1) and landed him in the Showcase Showdown.
He defeated his opponent in the grand finale by bidding closest to the amount of his showcase without going over. Lewis’ bid of $27,300 fell less than $2,000 shy while his opponent guessed too high for his prizes.
Realizing he won, Lewis jumped hysterically on stage in his dress blues and was hoisted atop the shoulders of friends and family.
“I still can’t believe I won,” Lewis said this week. “It was unreal. Even now, it’s unreal. I still can’t believe I actually won. Any time people asked me about it, I’ve had this stupid grin on my face.”
Lewis is still smiling. He grew up watching The Price is Right as a kid in Irvine, Calif., and hoped to be in the audience one day.
His own research revealed that his chances of getting on stage would increase if he was part of a large group. So his mother took on the task, landed group tickets and arranged for Lewis to go with 17 other friends and family.
When they arrived at 7 a.m. on the day of the taping, the screening process began with short interviews for potential candidates. Lewis and his two friends in the Navy were quizzed.
“They want to find excitable people,” he said.
Lewis passed the test. But he didn’t know it until taping of the show started more than six hours later when he was asked to “come on down!”
Lewis actually didn’t know then either because it was so loud in the studio, he couldn’t hear his name being called.
Seeing his name on a card was his cue.
From then on, Lewis dipped into a state of surreal, thinking to himself in disbelief that he was really standing on the stage with Drew Carey on The Price is Right.
He could hear Carey talk but audience noise blocked out most everything else.
After he won the show’s grand prize, and once reality sank it, Lewis said he felt exhausted and went to bed early, wondering how he was going to keep this sort of secret for seven weeks. Lewis said he was told not to disclose how he fared until the show aired. That meant no social media posts, and no other leaks to the public.
His family and a few close friends knew, but it was a guarded secret where he worked at the naval ocean processing facility at NAS Whidbey.
Well, at least that was the intention.
“Word kind of got around my work,” Lewis said. (They said) ‘Did you know this guy was on The Price is Right and won!’ I told them to stop telling people I won.”
Lewis has decided to give away many of his smaller prizes as gifts to family and friends and is selling the car back to the dealership for cash. The only prize that arrived in Oak Harbor so far was the trampoline, which he gave to a friend in the Royal Canadian Navy.
“He has four kids,” Lewis said.
Lewis plans to go with a group to the resort in Oregon. One thing he also plans to keep is his smile, which he expects to be wearing for some time.
“I had a huge smile on my face the whole day (of the taping),” he said. “I was so tired after the show. My face hurt from smiling so much.”