View Full Version : Marine wins more than $30,000 on The Price is Right

10-02-02, 12:03 PM

Submitted by: MCAGCC
Story Identification Number: 2002927124010
Story by Lance Cpl. Brent Walker

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Sept. 27, 2002) -- No Marine ever joined the Corps for the pay, but Lady Luck has a way of smiling on poor Leathernecks who deserve it.

That's exactly what she did on Sept. 18, when Pfc. Bradley Reardon, D Company, Marine Corps Communications and Electronics School, took home more than $33,000 in cash and prizes after winning the "Showcase Showdown" on the long-running CBS game show "The Price is Right."

Reardon, one of 18 Marines on a Single Marine Program trip to the game show, said the trip would have been worthwhile even if he hadn't become the show's top winner.

Before the show, Reardon and the rest of the Combat Center Marines spent a few hours on benches set up for the audience outside the studio. He said he was impressed by how much the public supported Marines.

"That was a nice thing. The crowd cheered every time they saw a group of Marines in uniform walk by," Reardon said. "We all stood up a little straighter. It's nice to know there are people out there who appreciate that kind of thing."

As it turned out, Reardon gained much more than pride from the trip. He was the second person called to "come on down" and be a contestant on "The Price is Right."

"That was a rush," Reardon said. "It's just so hectic. I had no idea what was going on. After I heard my name, I was thinking, 'Is that me?' By then, guys were just shoving me into the aisle. It was surreal."

Reardon was also the second person to bid closest to an item and earn his way on stage to meet host Bob Barker.

"I won a bunch of tacky-looking lamps I sent to my mom," Reardon said. Once onstage, he played "Punch-Out," a game in which players guess the correct prices on various products to earn chances to punch through covered holes to see what prizes they win. Reardon won the maximum four chances and walked away with his first major prize of the day, $10,000 cash.

It wouldn't be his last.

Soon, it was time for Reardon to spin the famous wheel to see which contestants compete in the Showcase Showdown. Players spin for the amount closest to, but not over, one dollar.

"I got 90 cents in two spins," Reardon said. "First, I thought I was going to go over, then I didn't think it would be enough. I didn't know I won until I heard the Marines in the crowd erupting and saw the producer motioning me over."

Reardon then had to sit and wait for to second half of the show to find out who his Showcase Showdown opponent would be.

Finally, when a freshman from the University of California-San Diego came out on top, it was time to play for the show's grand prize packages.

Since Reardon won more than his opponent, he got the chance to bid on, or pass, the first prize package, which included a full bedroom set. Reardon, a denizen of the MCCES barracks, was not impressed.

"My mouth got the best of me," Reardon said. "I said, 'What the heck am I going to do with that?' Except I used more colorful words. The camera was on me. Bob looked at me like he couldn't believe what I just said."

Reardon passed the prize package on to his opponent, who bid $13,000. Then, he saw his own prize package, which included a year's supply of doughnuts, a television set and a new car. He bid $20,000.

Since the first prize package was worth more than $15,000 and Reardon's turned out to be worth slightly more than $22,000, he wasn't sure that he'd won at first.

"It seemed like I was standing there for ages to hear who won," Reardon said. "Then they called my name, and the Marines in the crowed bum-rushed the stage and lifted me in the air."

Reardon's total in cash and prize winnings was $33,880, nearly triple what an average Marine private first class makes in a year.

"Luckily, I make so little money anyway that my tax bracket's not going up to the next level," Reardon said. Since he can't use much of his winnings right away, he's shipping most of the loot home to his family in Marietta, Ga.

The Combat Center's Single Marine Program makes several trips per month to "The Price is Right" and other show tapings and attractions throughout Southern California. Reardon said he almost didn't get to make this particular trip.

While he waits for his Tactical Data Networking class to begin, Reardon spends his days doing administrative duty in the D Company office. He has become such a valuable worker that his staff sergeant didn't want to let him go for the day.

"I did want to go, but I knew I was needed in the office," Reardon said.

1st Sgt Starlene D. Mercado, D Co., MCCES first sergeant, said there was no way she was going to let one of her best Marines miss this trip.

"Pfc. Reardon is a well-rounded, intelligent Marine. He's on top of things," Mercado said. "Here he is with an opportunity like this. It wasn't a hard choice. He was going. You reward your good Marines. PFC Reardon's not just a good Marine, he's a good person. Marines are winners, and he's a winner."

Photos included with story: Private First Class Bradley Reardon, D Co., MCCES, shows the name card he used on "The Price is Right." In addition to the personalized name placard, Reardon took home a new car, $10,000 in cash, a television set and a year's supply of doughnuts, among other prizes. Photo by: LCpl. Brent Walker