MUKILTEO — Jernie Concepcion has kept a big secret from his wife for nearly two months.
How big, he can’t say.
What he won on “The Price Is Right” is hush until the show airs at 10 a.m. Friday on CBS.
Concepcion, 62, a Navy veteran and Boeing retiree, was on the special episode for veterans in September while visiting his daughter in Los Angeles.
After watching the “The Price Is Right” since middle school, he figured while he was in town, why not see it in person? He got a priority ticket to the 8 a.m. taping geared for veterans on his last day there. His wife, Josannie, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the Harbour Pointe Everett Clinic, and daughter, Jennifer, 23, got tickets to a noon show.
He wore a T-shirt sporting his pride in the Navy, where he served for six years before moving to Mukilteo in 1988 with Boeing. He was up against contestants from other military branches.
“They did a group interview in a batch,” Concepcion said. It took several hours before taping started.
“Inside me, I had a feeling I would get called,” he said.
He stayed hopeful, even when he didn’t make the opening round where four contenders come on down to Contestants Row, the first step to meeting host Drew Carey.
“I was the sixth contestant to be called,” he said. “I had three shots to get on stage.”
He blew the first two.
His last chance was to price a music package without going over the actual retail cost.
“The highest bid was $950. I just said $951,” Concepcion said. The prize was a turntable and albums valued at over $1,000.
He credits his son, Joseph, 25, who gets music magazines that he also reads.
“It’s something I recalled seeing in a magazine,” he said.
Both Concepcion and Carey are from Ohio.
“I told Drew once I got on the stage, ‘Hey, man, I’ve been watching this show for years, since I was in Ohio,’” he said.
On stage, he played “Any Number,” a game where three prizes are presented: a car with five digits in its price, a lesser prize with three digits and a cash prize in dollars and cents. The contestant selects numbers between 0 and 9. The first price revealed is what is won, meaning it could be a few dollars or a brand new car.
Concepcion can’t reveal what he won in that round, but said someone in the boisterous audience inspired his last guess that was the winning number.
“Looking back, it seems surreal,” he said. “I was nervous. I might have jumped up and down. I wasn’t wildly crazy.”
He advanced to spin the big wheel and compete for the grand prize in Showcase Showdown, where Carey asks contestants to give a shout out to family members.
Cell phones are not allowed in the studio audience. By the time Concepcion was finished, hours had passed and his wife and daughter were entrenched to see the taping of the next episode.
They didn’t get to come on down.
They had no idea he was a “Price Is Right” star.
“When I told them, they didn’t believe me,” he said.
It was too late for the couple to make their evening flight back to Everett.
“I told them we could afford to stay another night,” he said.