Kate Collyar '04 Plays It Right

Kate Collyer '04 is called to "Come on Down!"

Sarah Maxwell Apr. 10, 2001

Playing ball was the main agenda for the Carleton varsity softball players’ trip to California over spring break, but on a day off from games and tournaments, they tried playing a different sort of game. First-year player Kate Collyar scored a spot as a contestant on the popular TV game show "The Price is Right," and the rest of the team and coaches played along with the pricing games from the studio audience.

On March 20, the team arrived at CBS Studios at 9:30 a.m. for the 2:30 p.m. taping of the show. Audience members had 15 seconds to convince a producer to choose them to be on the show. While most used the interview to say their names and where they were from, Collyar had a spiel prepared: "I’m Kate Collyar, from Denver, Colorado. I make a mean smoothie, and these ladies (she indicated her teammates) sometimes call me a baby giraffe, because I’m a little clumsy."

That personality was apparently just what the producers were looking for—Collyar was the fourth person called to come on down to Contestants’ Row.

"At first I didn’t realize they’d called my name," said Collyar, who plays first base on the team. "I didn’t want to stand up if [they’d called someone else]. I finally stood up, and the woman next to me started shaking me, and I ran down there and gave everyone high-fives along the way."

With her teammates and coaches in matching Carleton softball shirts cheering her on, Collyar was the first to bid on the Contestants’ Row item, which she couldn’t see because a cameraman was in the way. A friend had told her to bid double what she thought the price would be, so she bid $700 on what turned out to be a high-tech walkie-talkie system. The actual retail price was $780, and Collyar advanced to the pricing games.

After the requisite kiss of host Bob Barker’s cheek—"he was so tan, it was kind of like kissing leather," she said—Collyar’s potential prize, a trip to Germany, was revealed. For her game, "Pick the Price," she had to determine which of two prices was the correct one for the trip. She looked to the audience for help and chose the lower price, which was wrong. She later spun the wheel to go to the Showcase Showdown, but came up short.

Collyar wasn’t daunted by the prospect of being on national TV. She said she was especially careful not to trip over camera cords on the floor, but the whole experience was over before she knew it. "I didn’t even have time to think about it," she said.

Collyar remembers waking up early during the summer when she was a kid to watch "The Price is Right." She’s also a big fan of "Jeopardy," but likes "The Price is Right" because you don’t have to know so much trivia. That’s not to say that she didn’t brush up on her pricing skills before her appearance—during a run to a grocery store earlier in the trip, Collyar and other members of the team practiced guessing the prices of different item.

Though Collyar was the only Carleton student who got to make an appearance on the show, several of the others were pictured in a USA TODAY story about college students who take road trips for a chance to appear on a game show. The show will air on Wednesday, April 18.