Go big or go home
by Jon Mendelson
May 03, 2013 | 3697 views | 0 0 comments | 99 99 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Game show winner
)  Shakeel Carpenter and his mother, Michele Sherman, watch as Carpenter wins new kitchen appliances during the Super Deal portion of the Let’s Make a Deal game show. The episode aired on Tuesday, April 30.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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STOCKTON — Winning a big prize on a nationally televised game show wasn’t too difficult for 2012 Kimball High graduate Shakeel Carpenter. The hard part was keeping quiet about the Jan. 18 filming of “Let’s Make a Deal” until the show aired Tuesday, April 30.

“That was kind of tough,” he said just before the show began. “Everyone I mentioned it to, everybody (wanted to know what happened). Especially family. They’re like, ‘I’m your cousin, family first.’ They kept trying to guilt trip me about it, but I just had to keep my mouth shut.”

Carpenter, who recently moved to Weston Ranch, watched the show while being bombarded with Facebook and Twitter messages along with his great-uncle Mike Davis and his mother, Michele Sherman, who was in the audience while Carpenter traded jokes with show host Wayne Brady.

Until its 9 a.m. air time, Sherman and her mother were the only two family members who knew Carpenter not only won a new Chevrolet Spark car worth more than $12,000, but traded the car for a shot at the Big Deal — the show’s grand prize, hidden behind one of three curtains.

While Carpenter didn’t take home the show’s big-ticket trip to the South Pacific, his prize of a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator and several other new kitchen appliances worth $8,000 came at the perfect time.

The dishwasher gave out as soon as the family returned home from the trip to Los Angeles.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Carpenter said Tuesday. “The dishwasher’s still not working.”

The third time was the charm for Carpenter, who plans to study performing arts at Las Positas College. He, his mother and grandmother sat through the filming of two shows Jan. 17 before the producers told him to come back one more time.

Carpenter convinced his mother to stay in Los Angeles one more day so he could appear on the show.

“My great-grandmother used to watch it every single morning, and I just wasn’t old enough to go on the show,” he said. “I finally turned 18 and had some time off from school, I told my mom we haven’t been to L.A. in a while to visit any family, and while we’re down there let’s go on ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’”

Wearing a neon-yellow checked leisure suit, wide-collared white-and-black shirt and a black wig and pants so tight they ripped the first day he visited the set, Carpenter won his first game with Brady, who offered him a choice between $1,300 and curtain No. 2.

Carpenter went with the curtain even though his grandmother, sitting in the audience, told him to take the money.

“Originally, (Shakeel) said if he was going to get $1,000 he was going to take it, so it’s different once you get there,” Sherman said. “Then he said, I’m going there to win a car.”

But once he had the car, Carpenter changed his mind again.

For one, he said the ultra-compact Spark was too small. Besides, Carpenter had a better idea, which he explained to Brady before again choosing curtain No. 2.

“I knew it was a win-win situation with this one, and my mom and my grandmother have done a lot for me, and I never had a dad in my life, so whatever it is, I would love to give them something back,” he said. “So if it’s a trip, or I get a car again, or whatever it is, I’ll be grateful for whatever I have.”

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or jmendelson@tracypress.com.

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