For months, Mary Beard has walked around Waterloo feeling like a celebrity.
A lifelong Waterloo resident, Beard knows many who live in the Monroe County seat. So when word got out last year that she and her sisters were going to be on “Family Feud,” she’s been hit with the same question over and over: “Hey, when are you guys going to be on TV?”
On Feb. 17, the entire town of Waterloo — and America — will find out how well the family did in figuring out what the survey says when they appear on the Steve Harvey-hosted show, which can be seen locally on KDNL (ABC) weeknights at 6 p.m. Beard was one of four Shaffer sisters and a cousin who went through a process that took nearly a year from when they first tried out to when their show finally makes the air.
We are dog-eat-dog competitive.
Mary Beard, Waterloo
Joining Beard for the ride were sisters Nancy Quernheim, Kathy Warren and Tammy Salger and cousin Bill Wirth. Quernheim and Wirth still live in Waterloo, while Salger lives in Red Bud and Warren lives in Lake St. Louis, Mo. The group will be playing as the Shaffer family, which is the sisters’ maiden name.
Why try out for the “Feud?”
“We are a very game-playing family,” Beard said. “It seems like every family function that we have to come up with five games to play. ... We are dog-eat-dog competitive.”
When Beard came across a Facebook post last February that said “Family Feud” was going to have tryouts in Kansas City, Mo., she hopped on the phone and rounded up her team. Her sisters were immediately on board, but the crew needed a fifth player. She knew one of her brothers wouldn’t want to do it and their other brother lives in Texas. Luckily, Wirth volunteered his services.
The team had to make an application to get on the program. They wound up submitting an application that looked like the famous “Family Feud” board. It included the question, “What were the top reasons the Shaffers should be on the ‘Family Feud’?” Answers included “We laugh until we snort and then we get it together,” and “We love wearing color-coordinated clothing.”
That application caught the eye of show producers, and they were off to Kansas City to try out. Even though Beard thought they had “blown it” during the tryout, the family learned last March that they were on the active list to be on the show. They had to turn in a list of dates they would be available to travel to Atlanta for taping. The family could only make 18 of the 40 dates listed, which made Beard think they were a long shot to be called.
She was standing in the middle of a trip to the grocery store in June when she finally got the call she had been waiting for.
“I was screaming in the middle of the produce aisle,” she said.
The family went to Atlanta on July 26 for taping. By contract, no one in the group can say how they fared on the show. That’s fine with Beard, who is more than happy to keep the secret. Several family members went to watch, but they’ve kept their lips zipped as well so as to not ruin the show for anyone. What Beard can say is that her family had a blast.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “It was so much fun. When we were finished playing, we were so sad it was over. We talked them in to letting us come back and sit in the audience the next day.”
We are so excited to see how silly we are.
This was Beard’s first successful attempt at getting on to a TV game show. She said she has applied for “The Amazing Race” before and that her husband has applied to be on “Survivor.” She watched “Family Feud,” which is celebrating its 40th season this year, as a child.
“I remember growing up thinking that it would be fun to be on the ‘Family Feud’” Beard said.
Turns out, she was right. Now, she can’t wait to see how it all looks on TV.
“We are so excited to see how silly we are,” she said.