by Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARKâ€”Five sisters, all Kaneland High School graduates, took a shot that they could get on the game show Family Feud, and they succeeded.
The Turk sisters, who grew up in Maple Park, wanted to give their father, Joe, a special birthday present for his 80th birthday. He was the one, however, who came up with the idea.
â€œYou, girls,â€ he told them one day when the family was gathered, â€œyou’re just way too intelligent. You’ve got to get on a game show.â€
Kathy Turk Claesson took that idea and ran with it. She and her sisters started checking the Family Feud website to see where auditions were being held. Lo and behold, the next audition was being held in Schaumburg, Ill. Claesson sent an e-mail saying that five gregarious sisters wanted to be on the show for their father’s birthday, and enclosed the photo of the sisters they had taken for their dad. Within two weeks, the show asked them to audition.
â€œI have no idea if the e-mail had anything to do with getting accepted,â€ Claesson said. â€œIt may have just been that we got it in early, but when we auditioned we didn’t see five sisters there. It was like it was meant to be.â€
Out of approximately 100 families auditioning, the show’s producers selected 10 after each participated in a mock game. Family Feud coaches encouraged them to express positive energy and enthusiasm as they played the game. Something must have impressed the producers about the Turk sisters, because the family was asked to stay for another audition that same day, which was videotaped. The sisters returned home to wait on the results.
â€œOur expectations were not that high at all,â€ Claesson said. â€œWe went to have fun.â€
Two weeks later, the Turk sisters received an invitation to attend a taping, but they were not guaranteed that they would get on the show. From then on it was a whirlwind as the sisters and their family made speedy travel plans. In all, 13 other family members made the trip to Orlando, Fla., including Joe Turk and his wife, Evey Yagen, and eight of his nine granddaughters.
â€œIt was a wonderful experience for all of us to travel together,â€ said another sister, Rose Turk Miller. â€œIt was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.â€
The Turk sisters did it right. Using money from their vacation travel fund, they bought matching aqua shirts and rented a limousine to take to the airport. There, they received a lot of stares and questions as they made their way to the terminal.
â€œPeople came up and asked us if we were in a singing group,â€ Miller said. â€œThey asked us what the occasion was. We even stayed on the plane after everyone got off and had our pictures taken with the pilot and co-pilot.â€
At the taping in Orlando, the sisters made their mark during rehearsal, where the final families were selected. They were again coached to be bubbly and enthusiastic and about the â€œdo’s and don’tsâ€ of being on camera.
â€œSteve Harvey really made you feel comfortable,â€ Miller said. â€œHe would ask personal questions like he was really taking an interest. He made us not nervous.â€
Miller added that Harvey was hilarious.
â€œIt was like going to a comedy show,â€ she said.
The sisters also were impressed with the production staff.
â€œThe people couldn’t have been better. To us it seemed like they made you feel they were pulling for you to win,â€ Claesson said. â€œOne producer, Carlos, told us, ‘Don’t leave before we give you a hug.’ We felt like celebrities.â€
The sisters can’t divulge before the show airs whether they won the game. To find out, tune in to WPWR My 50 on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 1:30 p.m.