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June 16, 2014

Photo Gallery, Story: New Castle native competes on ‘The Price is Right’

NEW CASTLE — New Caste native Jeff Feola got his chance to “come on down” during an episode of “The Price is Right” that aired Thursday.

The 2002 New Castle High School graduate was among the first called to join Contestants Row on the CBS television game show, which has participants vying for cash and prizes by correctly guessing the price of merchandise.

While visiting friends in Los Angeles, Feola was encouraged to attend a taping, at least hoping for a memorable experience as an audience member.

Wearing a shirt from New Castle’s R&A Screen Printing that read “Jeff Feola Come On Down,” he received the shock of his life when his name was called.

“I was without words when they called my name,” Feola said. “I just had this amazing energy. My knees were shaking, I had never been that nervous before. It was the first time in my life I felt both excitement and fear.”

It was during pre-show interviews that Feola first thought he could have a chance at making an appearance, striking up a conversation with a show producer about Feola’s work as an off-Broadway show manager in New York City.

“I went into to the group sessions with guns blazing and tried to be as fun as possible,” Feola said. “I was convinced after talking with the producer that I or my friend would make it on the show.”

Even after being called down, Feola thought his “Price is Right” career would end there, saying he expected to “spend the entire show guessing the prices, never making it on stage.”

After spending weeks prior to the show watching old episodes and researching prices on show prizes, Feola was the second contestant to correctly guess the price of an item, winning $1,500 worth of jewelry and his shot on the stage.

“I was trying to stay so composed,” Feola said. “I have a nervous habit of biting my nails and I kept telling myself, ‘Don’t bite your nails. Don’t bite your nails.’ ”

Looking to the audience for answers, Feola again correctly guessed prices during the game 2 for 1, winning a wakeboard package and Sea-Do.

Though he didn’t make it to the Showcase round, getting the chance to give a shout-out to his family during the wheel-spin segment was his real prize.

“I wanted to share that moment with as many people a possible,” Feola said.

Though he has yet to receive the prizes, he anticipates sharing the jewelry with his mother and is still deciding whether a Sea-Do will do him any good, living in New York City.

That wasn’t the only stroke of luck that Feola has experienced since turning 30.

During a recent trip to Las Vegas, another lifelong dream came true for him when an opportunity arose to meet Celine Dion.

Following Dion’s career since age 13, he was overjoyed at the possibility of a backstage moment with a woman whose music means so much to him.

“Meeting Celine was such a joyful experience,” Feola said. “It really was an experience that helped propel me into my 30s.”

Sharing a brief word with the singer and pausing for a photograph, Feola again felt that same nervous excitement.

Since graduating New Castle High School and attending Slippery Rock University, Feola has chased his dreams of one-day managing Broadway shows, receiving immense support from family and friends in New Castle.

After all that has unfolded for him this year, he wants others in the area to know anything is possible for them as well.

“I was just a guy in New Castle, who had dreams and hopes and aspirations,” Feola said. “I feel like at this point I really could do anything.

“I want people to know that matter where you’re from and no matter what you dream if you want it bad enough and work hard enough it will happen.”

 

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