'Price Is Right' contestant goes bananas over $26,000 win: 'That was pure emotion'

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By Randee Dawn

Two spins of the "Price Is Right" Big Wheel for $26,000? That's enough to get anybody jumping for joy. But the reaction a contestant had on the Drew Carey-hosted game show on Monday has gone viral — and with good reason.

Eliot DiDonato, who's been watching the show since he was a kid, did something very few manage: First, he landed on the "100" spot on the wheel, but clearly did not expect that to happen — while the wheel spun toward its ultimate, sparkly destination, he chatted away with Carey. But when he got that "100" (snagging a fast $1,000 in the process), he hit the ground for a body wave of delight.

"It was absolutely not planned," DiDonato (who calls himself the "Big Ragu" on Twitter) told TODAY.com. "That was pure emotion. I'm big; I've got a big personality. I like to have fun!"

But a few seconds later, when he hit that same number again to pick up an additional $25,000 ... well, a body wave simply wasn't enough, and DiDonato turned into a mass of arms and legs as he whooped the crowd into getting (nearly) as excited as he was. 

An operation manager for "a major corporation," DiDonato was actually in the "Price Is Right" audience as part of a team building event, he explained. They had a budget for the exercise, but leader DiDonato wanted to spend it on transportation and a nice meal for his team, so they went to the game show "because it's free." 

And apparently remunerative: DiDonato went on to win the Showcase Showdown at show's end, and as TODAY's Al Roker reported on Wednesday, "He left with a car, a cruise and more than 59,000 bucks. Not bad."



As for future wheel-spinners, DiDonato doesn't have a secret to landing on that sweet spot the first time, but for anyone who does, here's how to get it twice in a row: "It's all muscle memory," he said. "I remembered how it felt when I turned it that first time, so I spun it as hard the second time. And sure enough, it landed in the same spot. Which is really crazy."

Check out the video to see the $26K display!

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