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No deal for Hampton Woman

It was no deal for a Hampton woman, but she had fun on the "Deal or No Deal" show anyway.

"I didn't win a thing," Kristi Waltman said. "My number wasn't picked.

"You hold one of the cases with a number on it, and if the ball doesn't land in the slot with the number of the case you're holding, you don't get to play."

Waltman had hoped for more.

"You know, I thought number four would be lucky," Waltman said.

It started about two years ago. During the fall of 2007, Waltman noticed the ads for contestants for "Deal or No Deal."

"They had a thing on the Internet and TV that they needed contestants for the show," Waltman said. So she tried out at the Denny Hecker dealership in Inver Grove.

"You had to present yourself in a manner that you'd be noticed," Waltman said. "So I was loud. I was out there.

"I'm pretty outgoing, but I was louder than normal that day."

There were 10 possible contestants at a table, and out of those 10, three were chosen as possible contestants. Waltman was one of those chosen.

At a second interview, the "contestants" played a smaller version of the game.

"They wanted to see how you'd react if you won or lost," Waltman said. "We had to bring four supporters with us to be the 'audience,' the cheering squad. I took my mom, my husband and two of my good friends.

"Then they said, 'thank you,' and sent us on our way. They said we'd hear from them if they wanted us to play - within a couple of years."

Waltman got the call in June of 2009. It was the day of her father-in-law's wake.

"I think my father-in-law got there and put in a good word for me," she said. "We joked about it at the wake."

By the time Waltman got the call, the program had gone into syndication, the prize money amounted to $500,000 instead of a million, and the contest was held in Connecticut.

"I think the taxes are less out there," Waltman said. So Waltman and her husband, Jerod, headed for Connecticut. They had to pay their own way out, and the show paid them for one night's stay in a motel.

They taped the show for seven hours one day and then the couple was free to tour.

"I thought it'd be boring," Waltman said. "But it was beautiful and there's a lot of history - Revolutionary War sites.

"And we got to see the ocean. We drove and looked until we were exhausted."

In the end, the couple paid out money instead of making some.

"I don't care," Waltman said. "Being a model and holding that case was fun enough."