The family that plays together, stays together. Well, maybe that’s not exactly how the adage goes, but the Ford family from Louisville is doing a fine job of making lifelong memories together using their competitive spirit and good-natured humor. Luckily, we can all bear witness to the family charisma when they appear together on “Family Feud” Tuesday, January 31, and Wednesday, February 1.
Approximately every two years, the popular television show will stop in to host auditions in Louisville; but, it is rare for a family to be cast their first time out. Tony Smizer, a member of the Ford family recounts, “My Aunt Valeria was the one who coordinated the entire effort and got us all together to audition. We practiced rigorously, at least two to three times a week, and committed to recording episodes and studying on our own.”
This wasn’t Valeria’s first experience with a nationally-televised game show. When she and her son, Charles (Little Chuckie) traveled to Los Angeles to attend a taping of “The Price is Right,” hers was the first name called from the audience. A bid of $1 won her a pair of jet skis and the opportunity to play on stage, and her well-honed shopping skills won her a trip to Copenhagen. She paid taxes on both prizes but didn’t end up using either: “I don’t like to mess up my hair and no one could get off work to take the trip with me and I’m far too friendly to travel alone to a foreign country. I might never have made it back!” she says with a laugh.
When it came to mobilizing her family to audition for “Family Feud,” Valeria had a strategy: “I studied episodes and I knew that you needed to have a balance of personality. Me and my son, we are kind of loud and crazy, but I knew my sister-in-law, Wanda and her son, Tony, were more serious, so I thought with my brother-in-law, Scott, we would make up a good team.”
Her strategy was right. Valeria convinced the other four to arrive for the Louisville auditions at The Hyatt two-and-a-half hours early so they were among the first in line. After going head-to-head with other local auditioning families, they were asked to advance to the next stage which consisted of making personal videos about themselves. Never shy in front of the camera, Valerie had the perfect anecdote to grab their attention. “I love to shop,” she shares. “I have over 500 pairs of shoes in my closet. I wear a size 10, but my collection ranges anywhere from an eight to an eleven. It doesn’t matter if they fit, it only matters that I look cute.”
The family was flown to Atlanta, Georgia for filming, and while they aren’t at liberty to share details that would reveal prizes or how far they made it until the show airs, they have nothing but positive things to share about their experience. “Steve Harvey is one of the most professional and motivating people I have ever met,” Tony recalls. “I have a great amount of respect for everyone that works on the show. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime.” VT