What’s it like to compete on a top TV game show? The Walters family knows the top five answers. They starred on Family Feud... Local Family Gets on Family Feud

What’s it like to compete on a top TV game show? The Walters family knows the top five answers. They starred on Family Feud and, although they can’t reveal the outcome, you can watch all the action on Monday, April 23, and Tuesday, April 24.

The Walters, from Graceville, Minnesota, are your average farm family. Well, they would be, if such an animal existed. Dad still farms the land his grandfather bought and Mom is a lunch lady at the school. After graduation, their children took different paths.

One day, one of the brothers shared a post about Family Feud looking for families. Everyone laughed, but just before the deadline, sister, Ashley submitted an application.

In her letter, Ashley outlined how she, a self-proclaimed wild child, is now a senior software engineer for a local IT consulting company in Minneapolis. Bryan (who ended up being the alternate team member), was the valedictorian in the family, and had studied computer engineering and worked for companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. She quipped, “Yep, he went from farm boy castrating pigs to riding in fancy planes in expensive suits.” She wrote about how Chris, who didn’t leave the small town, manages a large grain elevator, and Danielle, who couldn’t wait to leave, studied abroad in Germany for a year, moved to Minneapolis to study entrepreneurial management, and then married a farmer and moved back to Graceville. Ironically, she said she lives and operates a business from the house they all grew up in.

The Walters were amazed to hear Ashley’s letter had hit home and they had been chosen to audition in Minneapolis along with hundreds of other families. Danielle says the audition was intense, “After our round was over, we were quietly handed an envelope by the producer and whisked off to another room for an interview. In the room, we were asked a few questions and we had to sell ourselves on camera with our most outgoing pitches telling them a little about us. My shtick was that I was a small town girl who was voted ‘most likely to leave and never come back’ in high school and was now living in the house I grew up in!”

Danielle says she believes her family was chosen because of their roots. The producers were huge fans of the concept of a farmer and lunch lady from a small town with their children. Or, could it be the producers saw something special in a family who hosts the annual Walters Family Olympics and everybody goes skydiving to celebrate their mom’s 60th birthday?

At the end of the Minneapolis audition, the family was told they would be notified within three months if they were selected. Three months and much anticipation later, the family had heard nothing. They were disappointed but not surprised – in this family, life goes on. One month later, a postcard arrived in the mailbox, but, Danielle says, “This was still no guarantee, it just meant that we went into a database of families they could call up for filming at any time.” Several more months went by and finally the family learned they had been chosen and would be flown to Los Angeles.

They started packing. Well, not exactly. They were required to find coordinating clothes for all five team members – each with a different body type and style – Danielle was four months pregnant with twins. She says, “The most stressful part of this entire experience was picking out outfits! Family Feud sent very specific and strict guidelines as to what you should wear. Some colors were forbidden and all the clothing needed to be dressy. They did make an exception for my brother because they wanted him to play up the country look they so loved.”

“They made it clear that if you showed up in clothing that wasn’t camera friendly, you probably wouldn’t be selected to film. You had to bring at least two outfits so producers would have options. My mom and I spent an entire day shopping – picking out two sets of coordinating outfits for five people. It was a complete headache, but all part of the process. In the end I think we looked pretty sharp in our well-coordinated outfits!”

“The first day in Los Angeles wasn’t much easier. Danielle says, “We had to do another live audition the morning of the filming to determine if we would make the cut. We were one of the first two teams to do the tryout, so we were very nervous. They kept waving signs at us that said ‘LOUDER’ because shockingly enough, apparently our family wasn’t being loud enough?! No one had ever accused us of that before, ever! We were a bit discouraged after our audition and were afraid we wouldn’t make the cut after not being loud enough.”

After the audition, the Walters waited in the green room and as the day went on, families were called into the hallway one by one. She said, “Some were told they would be filming while others came back in tears to gather their belongings after being told they were being sent home and wouldn’t be on the show. We waited anxiously and after a long 10 hour day of filming, there was only one other family left along with ours, the Billups family.”
She says, “We had spent the day getting to know the Billups and they were one of our favorite families there. We all sat together in the green room joking and having a good time and agreed that the game show always likes to pit families with different demographics against one another.” She said as contestants her family learned the producers wait to see which family wins a game before selecting the next family to compete.

Danielle recounted, “The second to last show of the day we were watching from a live feed was a group of white girls from Minnesota and a black family. Needless to say, the Billups family and our pasty white family were cheering for different teams to win in hopes of our families being selected!”
She says, “There was no way they were going to choose our Minnesotan family to go against the Minnesota girls if they won. The lady from Family Feud who was in charge of supervising us in the green room (we weren’t allowed phones or to even take a bathroom break without their supervision!) insisted that producers didn’t look at demographics. We begged to differ.”

Danielle says, “The Minnesota girls lost (sorry ladies!) and our family burst out in cheers while the Billups let out a sigh of disappointment. As we had suspected, just minutes later a producer came back and informed us that we were chosen and would be on the last show of the day!” (The Billups family would return the next day in hopes of being selected.) “We were hoping we would win and they would be the next family selected to play against us.”

Although the preliminaries were a test of endurance, according to Danielle, the taping of the show made it all worth it. She says, “There were so many funny moments, so it will be interesting to see what they end up airing. We are guessing that most of it will be cut due to time constraints, though. Everything from my mom answering a question with ‘big lips’ and Steve Harvey pretending to be insulted while my mom turned bright red with embarrassment, to my sister not hearing a word correctly for a rhyming question and giving the most absurd answer and later shouting out ‘hooker’ to an answer and us all dying in laughter!”

The Walters’ episodes of Family Feud air on the Minnesota Channel WUCW (CW) on Monday April 23, at 6 p.m and Tuesday, April 24, at 6 p.m. Family Feud also airs on the South Dakota Channel KDLT at 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. If you decide to tune in, you will be in good company. Arvid and Viney Boerger, of rural Twin Brooks will, no doubt, be glued to their TV as Chris’s wife, Amanda, and Danielle’s husband, Matt, are their grandchildren.

Staff Writer

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