By Hannah Thompson, OCJ staff reporter
Farmers are known for keeping a close eye on prices. From reading auction results to paying attention to the markets, finances play a big role in their daily lives. Knowing
what things cost paid off in a big way for Cameron James, a Delaware County farmer who found himself in the spotlight on the game show “The Price is Right.”
James, a fifth-generation farmer, took a trip in July to Southern California with his grandmother, who grew up in the area. The pair, both long-time fans of “The Price is Right,” attended a taping near the end of their trip. While they enjoyed the show, they were not selected to compete. The next day, James was determined to use his Ohio and agricultural background to capture the producers’ attention and get the call of “come on down!”
“I’m from Ohio, I’m a farmer…I’ve watched the show for years, and I’ve never seen a farmer on it,” James said. “I really thought I had an edge.”
James wore a t-shirt proudly displaying that he was an “Ohio Farmer” in hopes of catching someone’s eye. He was on to something, as he was able to talk with one of the producers while waiting to enter the taping. As the show began, James was the first contestant to be called forward from the audience.
“I looked up and saw my name up on the board, and I was like, ‘Am I reading right? Is this really my name?’ All of the sudden it kicked in, my name was up there and I was getting called up,” James said.
The host of the show, Drew Carey, is an Ohio native who was born and raised in Cleveland. Carey greeted James with an “O-H,” and James enthusiastically responded with “I-O.” Carey took over hosting duties in 2007 after the retirement of Bob Barker, who had served as the show’s host since it’s debut in 1972.
“The Price is Right,” currently in its 41st season, airs on CBS. The daytime contest centers on contestants competing to correctly identify the price of items in order to win both cash and prizes. The show has aired over 7,500 episodes and has won five Daytime Emmy Awards. Contestants have won over $250,000,000 in prizes over the show’s run.
Through successfully guessing the price of merchandise including a digital camera and a trip to Mount Rushmore, James made it to the final rounds of the game show. After a lucky spin on the big wheel, he found himself in the Showcase Showdown where he passed up opportunities on trips, holding out for the chance to win a car.
“I think I’d look pretty good in a sports car, so I passed on the first showcase. I bid on the second showcase, and luckily, I was able to win a Dodge Challenger,” James said.
While James was excited to walk away from the experience a bit richer, he isn’t ready to quit his day job at James Farms LLC just yet.
“It looks great on paper and on television, but there is a lot of stuff behind the scenes that people don’t see,” James said. “There are taxes on all of it. It’s still a good deal, but it isn’t as simple as it appears.”
The James family farms approximately 1,500 acres near Radnor, growing primarily corn and soybeans. Cameron was a member of the Buckeye Valley FFA Chapter, graduating in 2010. James credits his experiences and background in agriculture with helping him in his success on the show.
“Being a full-time farmer, I know finances,” James said. “Farmers are a lot smarter than some people think they are. I think I have some business savviness to me, so I knew the prices of some of the items.”
Being a farmer didn’t hurt for actually getting him up on stage, either.
“I also think being in agriculture definitely helped me get on the show,” he said. “When the producer interviewed me, he asked what I thought of Los Angeles. I said, ‘Well there’s a lot of cement around here, I don’t know if I could farm around here.’ He started laughing. I’m sure he hadn’t really talked to any farmers before either.”
While his agricultural experiences helped, luck played a large role in James’ winnings as well.
“It was 100% luck. Luckily, God was on my side. Everything had to align perfectly, and that day it did. I had fun, and I got to represent farmers on television,” James said.
The episode aired on Election Day at the beginning of November. As much as he enjoyed the experience and the prizes he took home, James does have one improvement he’d like to make on “The Price is Right.”
“Obviously I wish there were a tractor to win on the show.”