Contest leaves Vernon Ripa fan star struck
Pat Gale hasn’t missed an episode of her favourite television talk show in about 15 years.
Therefore to say the Parker Cove resident is a fan of the morning show Live! with Kelly, would be an understatement.
“I watch it every morning and if I’m at work I PVR (personal video record) it,” said Gale, a 56-year-old Wal-Mart cashier. “I’m a big fan.”
So when she heard about a contest to see the show being taped in Banff, Alberta and meet host Kelly Ripa, Gale immediately entered.
“I let out a little scream and thought, ‘how exciting,’ because it’s right next door,” said Gale, a former Spruce Grove resident.
With the contest being open to virtually all residents of the U.S. and Canada, Gale figured her odds of winning were pretty slim.
“Well...I got the surprise of my life on March 19.”
Gale was the sole winner of the Live! with Kelly Alberta sweepstakes – complete with a six-night stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
She was quite literally in disbelief.
“Is this for real? Are you a telephone solicitor?” she questioned the California caller trying to confirm her entry into the contest.
But as she and her husband (Warren) were whisked away March 31 from Kelowna to Calgary on a Dash 8, she knew her dream had come true.
“It was just totally amazing that someone from Vernon won...I was just over the moon,” said Gale, who was treated to a luxurious getaway by Travel Alberta staff.
“This was a dream come true because I never would have been able to go and see her live.”
Not only did Gale get to see her favourite show being filmed right in front of her, she got a backstage pass to meet the bubbly blond she has been religiously watching every day for more than a decade.
Gale posed for pictures with Ripa and executive producer Michael Gelman and was pleased with how genuine the stars are.
“They are as real as they appear on TV.”
Back at the hotel one evening, the Vernon couple even ran into some celebrities who had appeared on the show earlier that day.
“Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory) got on the elevator with us and said hi but I didn’t recognize him, he looked totally different. When we got off the elevator my husband said, ‘you dummy that was John Galecki!”
As star-struck as she was, throughout her trip Gale was keen on promoting her home-town to all she met.
“The whole entire time I was there I kept talking about Vernon and how great it is,” said Gale, who mentioned such area jewels as Sparkling Hill and even gave Ripa Vernon pins and a book on the Thompson-Okanagan.
Since returning April 6, Gale is hoping she can persuade Vernon to go Live! just as Banff did.
“If Banff got it why couldn’t we?”