Rene Morris never thought she'd spend two winter nights sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles. Then again, she didn't have a choice.
The owner of The New Ewe salon and four other Payson women -- Karrie Brunson, Courtnay Ferkol, Trish Williams and Tommie Woolwine -- were forced to brave the cold, mean streets for a chance to be the next contestants on "The Price is Right."
"With Bob Barker retiring, we had to try it," Morris said.
So, the five women handcrafted two different shirts, a process almost required for contestants familiar with the show, and packed their air mattresses and sleeping bags.
The show overbooks tickets by the hundreds. So, even possession of a ticket doesn't guarantee a seat in the brightly colored, glittery studio that holds a mere 326 audience members.
Hundreds of die-hard fans camp out, sometimes arriving as early as 10 p.m. the night before a taping, to get an "order of arrival" pass the next morning.
"We didn't sleep a whole lot," Morris said. "We were too hyped up to sleep."
Tapings for the show begin around 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. There are two tapings on Monday -- 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Gates open and arrival passes are handed out at 6 a.m. the day of the taping. Contestants must be present all day if they want a seat in the audience.
For the next eight hours, the mass of sleep-deprived and bleary-eyed Barker fanatics patiently wait.
"They tell you, ‘You're not guaranteed to get on' the whole time you're waiting in line," Morris said. "I felt like, I'm doing all of this for nothing?"
The contestant pool gets whittled down as the day progresses, until finally the fortunate few who arrived early enough the night before are told they'll make it into the studio audience.
For Morris and her four friends, they were lucky on two consecutive days.
Morris said the waiting was worth it for a chance to be on the show and see Bob Barker.
"No one will ever be Bob Barker," she said. "It was neat to see him that close."
Morris and friends had seats four rows behind contestant's row on the first taping and fifth row seats the next day.
She said, she was surprised how small the studio was.
"On TV, it looks like contestants run down the aisle forever," she said. "You don't realize how close it is, but you're right there."
Neither Morris nor anyone from her group made it as a contestant, but she said it was fun just to be on the show and meet all the people experiencing "The Price is Right" rush with her.
"Once you get inside the studio, the excitement takes over you," she said. "They really get you involved.
"It amazed me how loud it was in there."
Morris said, she would tackle the whole experience again only if someone she knew she would be called as a contestant.
"I had to sleep for three days after going to the shows," she said. "It took me awhile to recover."
With the looming retirement of one of America's most beloved television personalities only a few months away, Morris said she has reservations about the ability of a new host to successfully replace Barker.
"All I can say is I hope he keeps the fans as entertained as they are now," she said.
The episodes featuring Morris and friends in the audience will air March 8 and 9 on CBS.