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Hockert makes a deal in California

There was reason for Blake Hockert and his family members to celebrate on the set of "Let's Make A Deal" in August. From left, Blake, his mom Cathy, his brother Paul and "Let's Make A Deal" host Wayne Brady. Submitted photo1 / 2
Blake Hockert, right, with his mom Cathy after their appearance on "Let's Make A Deal." Submitted photo2 / 2

If he told anyone, it would likely be a deal breaker.

Blake Hockert of Morris, a 2013 graduate of Morris Area High School, had to wait nearly nine months before he could fully share his experience on the CBS TV game show "Let's Make A Deal." Hockert won $31,296 in prizes including a new Chevrolet Cruze. Hockert, his mom Cathy and brother Paul appeared on the show in August while on vacation in California.

Contestants who win are sworn to secrecy because shows are taped months in advance.

"If they find out you've been telling people, they say the prizes could be forfeited," Hockert said.

"For four months, he couldn't tell anyone," Hockert's dad Ed said.

"It's tough when people start asking," Hockert said.

But last week Hockert was able to share some news when he mentioned that family and friends should watch "Let's Make A Deal" on Friday, April 7. Those who did watch were able to see Hockert first win $750 in cash which he traded for a box that contained a $6,000 trip to Belize. Hockert traded that trip for the big deal of the day.

Hockert picked curtain No. 2 and won the car. Shortly after, host Wayne Brady said Hockert could have the items from curtains No. 1 and 3. Those items included a 3D printer, large grill, patio furniture and other items.

"It was pretty exciting," Ed said of watching his son win on TV.

His son had hinted about he and his mom and brother getting "plenty of air time," ED said. "I thought maybe the camera caught them for a minute."

The camera did catch Hockert and it resulted in a snafu that turned out well, Hockert said.

"They did a segment called "Mind Reader," Hockert said. The camera pans the audience and stops on various individuals and a "Let's Make A Deal" cast member 'reads' the thoughts of the audience member.

Hockert saw his face on camera and thought he'd been chosen as the next contestant. He walked to Brady and learned he was mistaken.

"It's so loud in there," Hockert said of how he got confused. So loud that sometimes the crew uses cue cards, he said.

Brady felt bad for Hockert's mistake and in the next round he chose Hockert as a contestant.

"It was a little embarrassing moment but I guess it worked out well," Hockert said.

Hockert said he couldn't recall all the details of his show experience but remembered "I was definitely nervous. It was an overwhelming but very fun experience," he said.

Any celebration and talk of the win was confined to the studio stage. The trio went out to dinner to celebrate but couldn't talk about the show. Instead, they just laughed among themselves with the knowledge of the experience.

He's had plenty of people watch the show on TV and on the CBS website. Ed said some family members have recorded the episode. Hockert was busy at his internship job and couldn't watch it on April 7. He had to wait until it was posted on the CBS website.

Hockert will graduate from Hamline University in St. Paul in May.

Now, Hockert is waiting for his prizes to be delivered. He just paid the 7 percent California sales tax on the prizes.

"It's a pretty big grill," Hockert said with a laugh about one of his prizes. That and the other prizes provide some challenges. "It's tough to store items or make use of them as a college graduate."

He hasn't made a final decision on what items he may sell and which ones he will keep.