Winning big on TV’s “The Price is Right”

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Barbara Ruben

Eva McQueen-Gates screams with excitement with host Drew Carey after winning the day’s biggest prizes on “The Price is Right.”
Photo courtesy of Fremantle Media North America

Eva McQueen-Gates says she doesn’t consider herself a lucky person. In fact, she recently lost money on a trip to Las Vegas. But that all changed a few days later when her name was called with the hallmark “Come on down!” on “The Price is Right.”

McQueen-Gates, who is 63 and lives in Brandywine, Md., could hardly contain her excitement. She leapt up from her seat in the audience among her three sisters.

“I was jumping up and down so much I was exhausted before I got up front,” she said of getting on the episode that aired June 13.

McQueen-Gates won a set of three computer tablets and then got to play a game in which she tried to win a new car by putting the prices of five items in descending order of cost. She missed getting the car, instead winning a lowly can opener.

But she still made it to the showcase round with three other of the day’s semi-finalists, which were soon narrowed to two. She and the other competitor had to come closest to naming the price of individualized prize packages without going over.

McQueen-Gates prevailed and is now the proud owner of an iPhone, several computer tablets, a red Rebel motorcycle and a sailboat, worth a total of more than $25,000.

“I was nervous, I was excited. I was scared. It was absolutely awesome,” said McQueen-Gates of the experience.

She tried not to let her nerves get the best of her, but there were times when “I could barely think,” she said. It was particularly hard when audience members shouted out advice as she was trying to guess a price or make a move in a game.

A sibling trip

Each year, McQueen-Gates makes a trip with her three sisters. This year, they went to Las Vegas and made a side trip to Los Angeles for “The Price is Right.” They donned hot pink T-shirts that said “Carolina Girls,” referring to their South Carolina birthplace, and went to the show with a dozen of their friends.

McQueen-Gates has also been in the audience of “Let’s Make a Deal,” but was not chosen to compete for the prizes.

“The Price is Right” episode taped in March, but didn’t air until last month, and McQueen-Gates had to sign confidentiality agreements stating she wouldn’t divulge what happened on the show. But with so many people she knew at the show with her, it was hard to keep her win under wraps.

“My father is not a secret keeper, and I knew everyone in town would know in a minute, but we got him to keep his mouth shut,” she said.

McQueen-Gates left South Carolina for Washington, D.C. right after high school. She soon joined the Air Force, and served for eight years before taking a job with the U.S. Postal Service, where she worked for 30 years before retiring.

As for the boat and motorcycle, McQueen-Gates and her husband are planning to take a class in motorcycle riding and safety since neither of them are bikers. And they’re looking for a good place to dock the boat.

“I love to fish, so this is perfect,” she said.