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Seabeck woman invited to 'Come on down'
Millora Westerlund assumed her putting stance on the green while the crowd looked on. It was the biggest performance of her life, with the stakes high and the television cameras fixed on her.
The Seabeck mom wiggled her legs a bit — a friend called it her “Elvis move” — drew the putter back and tapped the ball. It sank in the hole.
The crowd rejoiced. Bells rang. And Westerlund ran over to her new car.
“I can’t believe I did that!” she cried, holding her head as she watched herself on TV Tuesday.
Family members and friends were piled into booths at the J-R Saloon in Silverdale to watch Westerund’s performance on “The Price is Right.” More than a month after the Dec. 7 taping, laughs and cheers erupted at the tavern as they saw Westerlund win a new Chevy Aveo — and game show host Drew Carey impersonating her “Elvis move” with the putter.
“I think you should start your own show,” high school friend Tina Harper-Ford told Westerlund after seeing her personable performance, which included leading a cheer while Carey demonstrated a putt before it was her turn.
Her friends badgered her about what it was like to be on the show.
“Did you get excited with Drew?” asked Kimberly Bryson-Oathout, another high school friend. “Did you hug and kiss him?”
Westerlund’s “Price is Right” appearance happened during a 50th wedding anniversary trip to Los Angeles for her daughter-in-law’s grandparents from the Forks area, Wayne and Barb Ray. Their dream was to go to see the game show, where Westerlund emerged as one of the day’s big winners.
“It honestly was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Westerlund said. “I won a car and I can’t believe it.”
Westerlund and her family lined up for several hours on the day of the taping, waiting to be interviewed by producers. Aspiring contestants undergo a screening process and are selected based on their personality, Westerlund said.
“You want to think of something that’s going to make you stand out,” she said.
When the producer checked how to pronounce her first name, Millora, she replied, “You can call me ‘manure’ if you call me down.”
She guesses that was her ticket to “come on down.”
Westerlund had watched “The Price is Right” growing up, but said she lost interest in the show when original host Bob Barker left in 2007. But now, having Carey him on stage, she has grown to like him and watches the show all the time again.
“When you meet him in person, especially when he’s giving you stuff, he is the nicest guy,” she said of Carey. “He talked to me like we’d just gotten together last week.”
Westerlund was invited to “come on down” to contestants’ row in the third round of the show.
“From then on, I just lost it,” she said.
She earned her way up on stage after making the closest bid among four people on a set of golf clubs.
After winning the car, Westerlund got to spin the big wheel to compete for a spot in the final showcase showdown at the end of the show. She beat out two other women and secured a spot in the final contest.
First, she was asked to bid on a sauna, trips to New Mexico and the Maldives and $2,500 in cash. But she passed the showcase to the other finalist because she didn’t know how to bid.
“I honestly in my head could not add two plus two,” Westerlund said. “I had to pass it because I had nothing in my head. I was just lost.”
Next, she was presented with an outdoor dining set, a hot tub and a sailboat, which also baffled her.
“Who knows how to bid on a sail boat? Not me,” she said.
She bid $31,000 on the group of prizes, but overbid by about $1,500, allowing the other showcase contestant to win her prizes.
But that didn’t tarnish one of the most exciting days of her life, she said.
“If I win or lose, it doesn’t matter, I’m standing up here with Drew Carey and I may have hugged him five or six times,” she said.
Westerlund will get her car 90 days after the episode’s airing — the show called last week to ask her what color she wanted it. However, she said she plans to sell it.
“It’s not a pretty car,” she said.
Westerlund’s husband, Dave Westerlund, did not attend the taping of the show, but was in Oregon with coworkers that day and said he had a premonition that his wife would make it on the show.
“I said, ‘I gotta hunch my hillbilly made it on TV today,’” Dave Westerlund said. “She’s a bowl of energy all the time, I knew she’d make it.”
Now Millora Westerlund says she wants to get on all the game shows, especially her favorite, “Wheel of Fortune.”
“It was so worth it,” she said. “It was so much fun.”