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Eric Peterson, Published March 23 2011

Peterson: Cobbers athlete gets on stage at "The Price is Right"

Bradley Johnson didn’t win the new car, but the Concordia sophomore will always own the memory.

Johnson, a multi-event athlete for the Cobbers track team, made it to the stage on the popular “The Price Is Right,” game show that Drew Carey hosts. The episode, which was filmed in late February, aired on Monday.

“The experience is more important,” Johnson said. “I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.”

Johnson and more than 30 Concordia track athletes were in “The Price Is Right” audience for that taping, which took place during a week-long track trip to the Los Angeles area. The team practiced in the morning the entire week, which culminated with competing in an outdoor meet.

“It’s our spring break,” said Cobbers coach Garrick Larson, in his 18th season. “We practice early in the morning, and the rest of the day, we play tourists. We’re just trying to get away.”

In 2005 during a similar trip, Larson also had one of his athletes make it to contestant row, but never won a prize bid to make it on stage.

“We didn’t know one of our kids would be on, but the odds are, there are about 330 people in the audience and we’ve got 35 of them,” Larson said.

Johnson was one of the first four contestants to get their names called at the start of the show. Members of the Cobbers track team in the studio audience were wearing maroon Concordia T-shirts.

“In all honesty, I didn’t believe it at first,” said Johnson, who is from Crystal, Minn. “Everyone was just cheering so loud.”

Johnson, who said he has been a longtime fan of “The Price Is Right”, didn’t win in his first four bids.

On the fourth bid, which was for dresses, Johnson bid $1. Bidding $1 was something that Johnson wanted to make sure he did.

“I was a little disappointed that it was Drew Carey and not Bob Barker,” said Johnson of the former longtime host of the show. “I wanted to bid $1 at some point. I wanted to say ‘$1 Bob.’ ”

The fifth bid was for a car stereo. The first three contestants bid $1,110, $1,200 and $1,300. Johnson thought the prize was more expensive so he bid higher. Instead of bidding $1,301 to trump the highest bid, he bid $1,500. Johnson said some of his friends gave him a hard time for that bidding strategy.

“I just didn’t want to be the person to do the one dollar over someone,” said Johnson. “I was super confident of the price of the stereo system.”

The price of the stereo was $1,890 so Johnson made it on stage. That’s when he found out he had a chance to win a new Hyundai Genesis. He played the game “One Away”.

“I was thinking that would be so cool to be that person to win a car,” said Johnson.

While Johnson didn’t win the car, he wasn’t bummed out.

“The rush of getting on stage cancelled out the disappointment of not winning,” Johnson said. “It’s cool just to have that experience. That’s the coolest part.”

As for the car stereo, Johnson will instead get a check that he figures will be more than $1,000 after taxes are deducted.

“That’s OK because my car could not handle that car stereo,” said Johnson, who has a Ford Escort.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com