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Stephenville family competes on Family Feud

Host Gerry Dee chats with Vicki Ploughman. From left: Sandra, Robert, Rozanne, Vicki and Paul Ploughman, Gerry Dee. – Courtesy of © CBC

By JAYMIE L. WHITE Special to the Appalachian

STEPHENVILLE – Vicki Ploughman always loved watching Family Feud growing up, and when the show came to Canada, she knew her family would be the perfect fit.

“I saw a posting on Facebook that the show was looking for families for Season Three so I clicked on the link. I quickly wrote a few funny paragraphs about my family, which wasn’t hard to come by, turned the camera on selfie mode and sent in a 2-minute video of myself stating why the show should choose us,” said Ploughman. “Keep in mind at this point no one in my family even knew I sent in any application or video. I figured if I asked them, they would all say no, so I said let’s see what happens. No harm in trying.”

A few days after sending in her application, Ploughman received a response.

“I received an email from casting assistant, Jake, from Family Feud saying we had a virtual audition scheduled for the following week on May 19. I was like ‘Oh dear, now I have to tell the others,’” said Ploughman.

When Ploughman told her family the news they were nervous, but excitement soon took over.

“When I told them they thought I was crazy and said no right away. But after a little convincing, I told them let’s just try out for fun and look at it as a rare opportunity,” explained Ploughman. “I said all they had to do was show up for the audition and I would handle everything. What did we have to lose? They finally gave in and said okay, thinking we would never be chosen.”

Once the family was on board, it was time to prepare for their virtual audition.

“We all dressed in black and wore Newfoundland tartan vests. We made a few Family Feud signs and wrote a song about our family to the tune of Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams – wanted to keep it Canadian,” said Ploughman. “Once the audition started, I played the Family Feud soundtrack and we started. We danced, we sang, we talked. The producer interviewed us for an hour. She wanted to know about our town, our jobs, interests, and hobbies. Everyone was on point and so funny. The producer couldn’t stop laughing. Once the audition was over, I instinctively knew we were going to Toronto.”

The family were contacted at the end of July saying they were selected, but had to keep the secret for a month. Competing on the show with Vicki are her husband, Paul, her mother-in-law, Rozanne, her brother-in-law, Robert, and her aunt Sandra Stein.

When the Ploughmans arrived at CBC, they needed to have two COVID-19 tests and keep their masks on at all times except when they were playing or in the green room. First they went to a meeting with the other families to discuss rules and regulations before going to the stage for a rehearsal game.

“That’s when the stage lights come on and you are like ‘Wow, we are really here’. I was breathless and in awe, it was magical and surreal all at the same time,” said Ploughman. “It was especially cool because as soon as we went out for rehearsal, Gerry Dee strolled in smiling, with his coffee in hand, watching from the sidelines. We were starstruck because we watched Gerry Dee on the show for the past two years and we were fans of his sitcom, Mr. D. After the rehearsals, two families got selected to play first and we were one of them.”

Ploughman said meeting Gerry Dee was a fantastic experience, and he was a true gentleman.

“He is so very comfortable to talk to and extremely funny,” shared Ploughman “He is very charismatic and is truly invested in what you have to say. He went to St. Francis Xavier University, the same place my husband and I went so we knew some of the same people. And he married a woman from Glace Bay, which is where some of my family members are from. He chats to each family member for quite some time, which is really nice because it enriches the experience.”

Ploughman said being on the show was one of the best days of her life.

“I will forever reflect back and look at that day as one of its greatest highlights. Being there with my family and to be able to share that experience with them is priceless. We had so much fun preparing for this day, picking out wardrobe, practicing, and to be there and watch each other play the game was amazing,” said Ploughman. “We laughed, screamed. You name it. We did it. Sometimes we had great answers, sometimes we didn’t, but that even made us laugh even more.”

Ploughman said if they win, they each have ideas on what they would do with the prize money.

“Paul and Robert said they would take their dad to Toronto to see a professional hockey or baseball game. Rozanne, Sandra and I would go on a little shopping spree,” said Ploughman.

Ploughman said one of the greatest things about this opportunity was that it brought her family closer together.

“The journey in itself to get there was so much fun and being on the show was the bonus,” said Ploughman. “It is an experience we will never forget and to share it with your family members was indeed the best part.”

You can watch the Ploughman family compete on Family Feud Canada on CBC on Nov. 8.

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