Car top prize in Perth man's quarantine game show

Car top prize in Perth man's quarantine game show

Cars, trucks and SUVs stream past Ryan Murphy's house on the outskirts of Perth, Ont., every now and then a horn honking in greeting.

"Number one!" he shouts back, his index finger raised in the air.

Murphy has become something of a celebrity in Lanark County. 

The 43-year-old teacher has just finished hosting Car Car Truck, a guessing game show produced from his kitchen table with help from his wife Tara. It lasted more than two months and put $15,000 back into the local economy. 

"It was a pretty wild, wild adventure, and I had no idea until we tallied it up on Saturday how much we'd raised," Murphy said. 

Jean Delisle/CBC

Five nights a week, Murphy invited friends and neighbours to guess the order in which vehicles would pass his house. Car? Truck? Motorcycle? Then he would broadcast the traffic from his front lawn on Facebook Live while contestants watched from home.  

"It's the same sort of game that lots of us played with our parents in a car when you were travelling as a child," said Susan Best, who heard people talking about it around town and decided to join in. 

Members of the public chipped in prizes for the correct guesses, mostly gift certificates to be spent at local stores and services in eastern Ontario. 

"All these small businesses are the ones that we constantly go to to raise money for sports, to raise money for our schools, to raise money for everything that our youth really do around here. And they always respond. So it was a chance for us to give back to them," Murphy said. 

At the show's peak, 600 contestants were tuning in.

Jean Delisle/CBC

"When I went to work everybody would compare what we guessed .. and it's just funny because it started off so small and then people not from just Perth were tuning in watching it," said 18-year-old Maggie O'Neil, another contestant on the show. 

Dealership donates car

Susan Best and her husband Greg have just won the final grand prize: a one-year lease on a 2020 Ford Escape. 

Greg Best was out on the golf course, using a gift certificate he'd won during a previous round of Car Car Truck, when he got the news. 

"My phone rang. I stopped the cart and Susan said, 'You won!' And I said, 'I won what?' And she said it was the car, which was just kind of unbelievable."

Facebook

To be entered into the final draw, the Bests had already won a round and had donated prizes themselves. 

CBC Ottawa first profiled the Car Car Truck show in April. At the time, Murphy said the only way he saw the show ending was when he was able to give away a car as a prize. 

Murphy approached the general manager of A & B Ford in Perth, Jeff Hinton, who said he didn't initially intend to sponsor such a large prize for an amateur game show. 

"When Ryan called [I was thinking] maybe an oil change or something along these lines, but with several minutes into that conversation I realized that's not what he had in mind," Hinton said. 

Grad wins $5K bursary

More than a dozen prizes were awarded during the last show, including a $5,000 bursary.

Maggie O'Neil took home that cheque, and said she'll use the money toward her tuition when she starts at Queen's University in the fall, likely online. 

"It's really special because being a Grade 12 student right now has been really difficult, just missing out on everything and things being cancelled," she said.

Jean Delisle/CBC

Murphy was in for a surprise of his own: In the final moments of the show, the Ford dealership presented him with a one-year lease on a car.

"This is crazy!" Murphy said live during his broadcast when he saw the SUV. 

He said the sense of community the show created and the response from his audience was all the thanks he needed. 

"It might sound corny, but reading the reactions of the people who have played along and the kind words they left for Tara and I — it does make it all worth it."