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West Jordan • As supervising casting producer of NBC's "Minute to Win It" game show, Luke Conklin wants contestants who are enthusiastic and love to compete.
He found them in Utah at a casting call on Saturday. Hundreds of hopefuls showed up for tryouts at the Mountain America Credit Union's Corporate Annex at Jordan Landing, 7167 S. Center Park Drive.
"We're looking for fun, dynamic people who have a story to tell," Conklin said.
The first would-be competitor in line seemed to fit that requirement well: Rick Pitcher, a volunteer firefighter for the southern Utah town of Ivins who said he had hitchhiked north and arrived at 11:30 p.m. Friday.
"I didn't want to waste the opportunity," said Pitcher, who chose to travel by thumb because he didn't have enough gas money. He added that he had been practicing with the sample challenges offered on the game show's website.
Also near the front were Bob Kelly and his son, Josh, of West Jordan. They said they had been practicing with the Wii game system's version of "Minute to Win It."
Bob Kelly said he would love to win the show's $1-million prize, but added, "I would be happy with a tenth [of that]. I just want to be on TV."
His son also wants a chance to be on air. Josh Kelly has tried for "Survivor," "Deal or No Deal," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," "Big Brother" (twice) and "American Idol" (three times).
"Minute to Win It" hosted by Guy Fieri, who gained fame as a chef on the Food Network features contestants competing in a series of 10 challenges using household objects for a shot at $1 million. The one-minute tasks become increasingly difficult and competitors have the option of taking the cash they have accrued before reaching the top amount.
Sample challenges on the show's website include stacking seven Ding Dongs on the forehead; using swim flippers to pick up a tortilla from the floor and flip it onto a plate balanced on the head; and alternately stacking four paper towel rolls and four eggs into one freestanding tower.
The would-be contestants filled out questionnaires and were interviewed in small groups. Topics included applicants' most embarrassing moment and what they would do with the money if they win.
"You talk about yourself and what makes you, you," said Jason Carver, who arrived at 5 a.m. and was second in line with his nieces, 15-year-old cousins Jasmine Nelsen and Ashley Funaro. The three were upbeat about their chances after their interview.
"We're going to bring it," Ashley said.
The show's producers will notify those who made the cut later. The Salt Lake City area will be the third location, after Denver and Minneapolis, for the tryouts. Upcoming sites are Nashville, Dallas and San Diego.
'Minute to Win It'
P The game show is broadcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday on KSL-5, the local NBC affiliate. Go to http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/ for more information.