For the Lankford family, the game is always afoot. Johnny and Kelly Lankford of Canyon Country are not satisfied with just watching their favorite TV game shows from their family room. They have been part of live studio audiences several times and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.
The couple has been to “The Price is Right,” “Ellen’s Game of Games,” and “Winsanity,” where Johnny was chosen to be an active audience participant. And now, their kids have caught the bug.
Last month their daughters Kailey, 11, and Kiki, 5, had their game show debuts.
“We were all watching ‘The Price Is Right’ one day, and Kailey said, ‘When can we go on? Do they ever have kids’ days?’” Kelly explained. “So, I looked online and, ironically, it said they were taping ‘Kids’ Week Preschool Day’ on Kiki’s 5th birthday!”
That was just the beginning of the Lankford’s good luck. They got tickets and went to CBS, where hopeful participants were interviewed by the producer.
When he asked Kiki her favorite “Price is Right” game she screamed, “PLINKO!” And when asked if she could win anything in the world what would she want, and she screamed, “A NEW CAR!”
The producer told Kiki, “I like your energy,” so it wasn’t a huge surprise that when the taping began, the 5-year-old was the first name called to “come on down!”
Kelly and Kiki competed against two other parent-preschooler contestants standing at the bidding stations for the first round. Of course, each child was coached by the parent, but the preschoolers got to deliver their answers – which were guesses on merchandise pricing – into the microphones. When Kelly told Kiki to bid $9.99 on a product, the youngest Lankford leaned in to the microphone and announced, “9-9-9-9-9.” Responding to the comical answers the show was getting from young contestants like Kiki, game show host Drew Carey pointed out that “The Price is Right” never had kids that young competing before.
Kelly and Kiki won the round and went up onstage to play “One-Two-Three Blocks,” then advanced to spin the wheel, which sent them to the “Showcase Showdown.” (You’ll have to tune in on April 22 to see how Kiki did on that final round. Spoiler alert: It goes very, very well.)
“Trust me, it was amazing!” Kelly said.
A few weeks later was “The Price is Right Elementary/Middle School Day,” and the lucky Lankfords’ second win: Kailey was chosen to appear on the show. She brought her father, and because she was older, Johnny stayed seated when Kailey was commanded to “come on down!”
“When you’re sitting in those chairs waiting to hear your name, at that moment your heart stops – you have no idea,” said Kailey, who’s watched the show since she was 4 years old.
She stepped up to the bidding station and made it onstage. “I played the easiest game – it’s the ‘Vending Machine,’” she said, explaining that you have to choose the most expensive combination of products. Johnny weighed in from the audience and Kailey made her choice – she won the game, then headed for the wheel. Kailey’s spin didn’t send her to the Showcase, but she exited with prizes.
Neither Kailey nor Kiki are allowed to go back on “The Price is Right” for 10 years, but when the time comes, you can expect to see Kailey return to the stage. “I want to get on as many game shows as possible,” she said.
A student at Golden Oak Community School, Kailey has appeared on a television commercial as an actor. “I like being in front of people and showing my expressions,” she said. “I’m not one of those shy ones. I say, ‘Let’s go, let’s do this.’”
Kiki, whose real name is Kilani, attends Prime Time Preschool in Canyon Country, where she likes both the work and the teachers. “Miss Jennifer is nice,” Kiki said. “We read some books and do science experiments. We have sharing time and we go outside.”
Johnny and Kelly have lived in Canyon Country for 23 years. “What we love most is the beautiful mountains, plenty of shopping, our friends and family live here – and the weather, of course!” Kelly said.
Tune in to watch Kiki on Monday, April 22 at 10 a.m. on CBS and Kailey on Wednesday, April 24, also at 10 a.m. on CBS.