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Buford family to compete on 'Family Feud' this week
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The Ricketson family poses for a photo with Steve Harvey, host of Family Feud, at the Family Feud film studio in Atlanta in May 2017. From left, Nathanael Eisenman, Sutton Eisenman, Mekinnah Currie, Steve Harvey, Melinda Ricketson, L.A. Ricketson. - Photo courtesy of Family Feud

L.A. Ricketson said he didn’t think much of it when he submitted his family’s name to be on the popular TV game show “Family Feud” after seeing an advertisement for tryouts on Facebook in 2016. 

He said it was one of those “by the way moments” when he told his family he did it.

Family Feud

What: Ricketson family of Buford competes

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 22-23, 27-28; 6 p.m. Feb. 26

Where:  CW69

“I didn’t think there was any chance of us actually being chosen,” the Buford resident said. “So I think I just told them, ‘Hey, by the way, I put our name down to be on “Family Feud.”’”

Ricketson said he had since forgotten about it. It wasn’t until he got an email about a year later that he remembered. 

Now, after much anticipation, Ricketson, his wife, two daughters and son-in-law will get to see their episodes on TV on Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 26-28.

“My entire family, they’re extroverts,” said Ricketson’s wife, Melinda, of the live tryout in Atlanta. “They just wanted a family that would make a fool out of themselves, and we did it.”

The tryout was run just like the show. There were a lot of families at the Atlanta Civic Center, and they all got the chance to compete against each other for one round, without host Steve Harvey, to show the “Family Feud” team what they had.

Ricketson said after it was over they forgot about that tryout, too, assuming they family just didn’t make a good enough impression. But almost a year after the tryout, Ricketson got the call to be part of the show.

“We were super nervous,” said Ricketson’s daughter, Mekinnah Currie. “Leading up to the show we watched it literally every night, practicing along with the people.”

Getting everyone together was the hardest part, though. With daughters in their 20s, and everyone working, finding a way to get five family members to Atlanta was a struggle. Originally, Ricketson’s youngest daughter was supposed to be there, but she couldn’t make it to the tryout, so his wife filled in for what she hoped was just the tryout.

“She evidently made a great impression on the people when we were doing the tryout because when they called us a year later to actually do it, I told them my wife was probably not going to do it but my youngest daughter would,” L.A. Ricketson said. “But they said no. They wanted my wife to do it.”

So, they traveled to Atlanta again, but weren’t called to the stage on the first day of filming. L.A. Ricketson said his family was disappointed but still happy they got the chance to even be there as part of the audience. On the second day of filming, though, during lunch, one of the producers met up with Ricketson and told him what he had been waiting to hear.

“I was like, ‘We’re really going to be on the next show? Don’t be messing with me,’” L.A. Ricketson said. “So we did it, and we finished filming in Atlanta.”

But that wasn’t all. “Family Feud” was in a transition of moving its studio to Los Angeles. So, after the first two shows in Atlanta, the Ricketsons were flown out to Los Angeles to do their remaining shows.

For L.A. Ricketson, being on stage with the music and lights was “surreal.”

 He said, when Harvey came to the stage, it was genuine excitement because that was the first time they actually got to interact with him.

“It was thrill and excitement and laughter and fun,” L.A. Ricketson said. “But then there was the anxiousness and nervousness. So it was like a whole range of emotions.” He said he has been sworn to secrecy and can’t talk about the results or if his family won any cash or prizes. But he said they didn’t go in with expectations of winning anything.

They were just there to enjoy the experience. Everything on top of that was “just gravy.”

“There was never a forethought of if we won money because we didn’t want to jinx ourselves,” L.A. Ricketson said.

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