La Jolla teen wins it all on ‘The Price Is Right’
By Emily DeRuy
Kyle Usselman has always been something of a “The Price Is Right” fanatic. Recently, the 19-year-old La Jollan had the opportunity to compete on the show, and his efforts paid off handsomely. What started out as a trip to the taping with friends eventually resulted in a win worth $38,000.
The University of Southern California sophomore said he’s been watching the show almost daily for years. His father, Mark, says he’s “a bit of a ‘Price Is Right’ freak.” So, it was something of a dream come true for Kyle when he was selected to participate in the show at a recent taping in Los Angeles.
Kyle, who had attempted unsuccessfully once before to participate as a contestant, was picked by producers to compete after impressing them with his comedic skills. Aware that he is working toward a degree in business, the producers asked Kyle if he has plans to become the next Donald Trump.
Instead of answering with a conventional “yes” or “no,” the gregarious student astonished them with a spot-on Donald Trump impersonation, garnering an invitation to compete on the show in the process.
After successfully bidding on a GPS system in the initial round, Kyle progressed through the game show, eventually spinning a perfect score on the big wheel. By the end of the evening, he had won a new Ford Fiesta, weeklong trips to Australia and Hong Kong, various electronics, and $1,000 in cash prize money.
Somewhere between euphoria and shock.
“My hands were shaking,” Kyle said. “I was in shock. I couldn’t talk.”
But his friends could. Cheering from the audience, four of Kyle’s fellow USC students rushed onto the stage to celebrate his victory. Two of them, Brett Carroll and Brian John, have known Kyle for years. All three attended La Jolla High School together before moving to Los Angeles for college.
“When we first saw his name come up, we weren’t really sure what to think,” said Carroll. “We got really excited. The camera was on our group and we were freaking out the entire time. It was really fun.”
After he won the final showcase, Kyle’s friends charged onto the stage to offer their congratulations and revel in the moment.
“It was crazy,” says Carroll. “We were thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was pretty surreal. It was pure instinct to run up on the stage.”
Kyle agreed, and said the moments after his win remain a bit of a blur.
“The whole group came on stage and everybody got to met Drew Carey. It was incredible,” he said.
For now, Kyle is just trying to enjoy the experience. He hasn’t given much thought to the car yet, but he is looking forward to the two trips and reveling in the fact that he not only competed on a show he has been watching for nearly a decade, but that he did so successfully.
“It was unbelievable,” said Kyle. “I’ve always been a huge fan and it was just so much fun.”
About the show
• “The Price Is Right,” hosted by Drew Carey, airs at 10 a.m. Monday-Friday on CBS. It bills itself as “television’s longest-running game show,” beginning its 38th season on CBS Sept. 21, 2009. The original version of the show aired from 1956–1965 on NBC and was hosted by Bill Cullen. Bob Barker hosted the show from 1972 to 2007.
• The episode with Usselman aired on Nov. 16.
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