Felton woman wins big on ‘The Price is Right’

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen, center, waits to hear the outcome of her Showcase bid with “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey during the episode that aired Tuesday morning on CBS. Ms. Tonnesen won a $2,500 shopping spree trip to Buenos Aires, an additional $2,500 and a Mini Cooper. That was in addition to another automobile and car audio system won previously on the show. (WBOC/CBS photos)

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen, center, waits to hear the outcome of her Showcase bid with “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey during the episode that aired Tuesday morning on CBS. Ms. Tonnesen won a $2,500 shopping spree trip to Buenos Aires, an additional $2,500 and a Mini Cooper. That was in addition to another automobile and car audio system won previously on the show. (WBOC/CBS photos)

FELTON — The town of Felton got a new celebrity Tuesday when resident Imogene Tonnesen won the grand prize package in the Showcase Showdown on the long-running CBS game show “The Price Is Right.”

On the program that was taped in early July, Ms. Tonnesen, 86, won a $2,500 shopping spree trip to Buenos Aires, an additional $2,500 and a hardtop Mini Cooper.

The Mini Cooper was actually the second automobile that she won on the episode, having already acquired a Chevrolet Cruze LX while playing the show’s “Pocket Change” game.

She also bid correctly on a car audio system, which got her up on stage to play the pricing game with host Drew

Ms. Tonnesen, 86, celebrates her big win on “The Price Is Right.”

Ms. Tonnesen, 86, celebrates her big win on “The Price Is Right.”

Carey.

It was a whirlwind hour for Ms. Tonnesen, who is a longtime “Price is Right” fan.

“I watch it all the time, for sure. It’s a great show,” she said by phone shortly after the television program ended at noon. She spent Tuesday with her family in New Jersey, where they watched the show together and she fielded many calls and text messages from excited friends and family members.

“Everyone on the crew who helps produce the show are super neat people and Drew Carey was cool.”

Once called up to “come on down” in the middle of the program, the crowd was definitely on her side, chanting

“Imogene, Imogene” once she got on stage and through the Showcase.

“I don’t think anyone could believe I am 86 years old,” she said.

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen spent Tuesday watching “The Price is Right” with her son in New Jersey. She received many congratulatory calls and text messages throughout the day. (Submitted photo)

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen spent Tuesday watching “The Price is Right” with her son in New Jersey. She received many congratulatory calls and text messages throughout the day. (Submitted photo)

Ms. Tonnesen and her daughter, Christine Stallings, made the trip to Hollywood from Ms. Stallings’ Las Vegas home. Her daughter secured tickets to a taping on a date that coincided with a trip Ms. Tonnesen already had planned to visit her daughter.

She said it was just fun seeing the sights of Hollywood. Winning all of those prizes was icing on the cake.

“It was great walking through a big mall that they have there (next to the studio) and people (who had been to the show) were congratulating me,” she said.

The spunky senior said the process to get on the show was quite involved but she thinks she knows why she was picked.

“To make the story short, you have to fill out paperwork, have your picture taken and wait to be interviewed. And then they bring you in 20 at a time and interview each one individually down the line,” she said.

“I don’t really remember what we talked about but I did have some parting words to him which I think he liked.

“When we were done, he said ‘Enjoy the show and have fun.’ And I said ‘I always have fun wherever I go.’ And I do.

It doesn’t matter if I’m alone or wherever I am. I always have fun.”

She said she didn’t realize at first that her name had been called by announcer George Gray.

“I actually never heard my name but they put up these big cue cards with the name. I left town there for a second and was watching and listening to some people in the next section,” she recalled.

“When he said ‘Come on down,’ my daughter darn near choked me. I was interested in watching the show (Tuesday) so I could actually hear my name.”

She won the car audio system on her first chance, bidding $850 for the $1,078 product.

“When I watch the show, I like to make my own guesses and I’ve seen something like that offered before. So I knew the price range and it was kind of easy,” she said confidently.

She came up big on the game “Pocket Change,” winning the Chevy, which took her to the Showcase Showdown, where she narrowly beat out the two other contestants by a nickel on the big wheel.

Her bid on the Showcase package was about $15,000 over the mark but her competitor was off by more than that, giving her the trip, money and cars.

“If I had taken a second to think about it, I probably would have gotten closer. But I didn’t take into account the price of the trip. I was only thinking about the money and the car. I was so far off on that,” she said.

Ms. Tonnesen said she hadn’t received her prizes yet. The show told her they would be in touch with the details after the show aired so she was expecting to hear any day now.

She hasn’t made any plans for her stash yet, waiting to see how much in taxes she will have to pay on them first before deciding what to do with them.

“The state of California gets their cut first. I haven’t counted my chickens on any of that yet. But regardless, we had a great time,” she said.

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen, left, on stage with “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey. She won the grand prize package on the show that aired Tuesday. (WBOC/CBS photo)

Felton’s Imogene Tonnesen, left, on stage with “The Price is Right” host Drew Carey. She won the grand prize package on the show that aired Tuesday.
(WBOC/CBS photo)

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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