EPHRATA, Wash. — An Ephrata farmer and his daughter have become the first father-daughter duo to compete on CBS’s “Survivor” in the 14 years of the reality television show.
“I like the show and my wife’s been telling me for years, ‘You outta try it, You outta try it, You outta try it,’” Dale Wentworth, 55, said on a CBS promotional video.
“Actually, my daughter and I kind of backed into it,” he told Capital Press. The third-generation farmer mainly raised hay until 2008 when he switched to field corn and now is retired and leases his land to another farmer.
His daughter, Kelley, 28, grew up on the farm and now is marketing manager in Seattle for a company selling energy drinks and dietary supplements for athletes.
Father and daughter applied for CBS’s “Amazing Race” reality show in 2009. They came close but didn’t make it.
On March 7 of this year, they got a call from a CBS casting agent asking them to be on “Survivor Blood v. Water.” It was Wentworth’s 55 birthday.
“It was a heck of a birthday present to say the least. We didn’t know Blood v. Water (a season involving contestants related to each other) would come up again. It literally fell into our laps,” he said.
It didn’t take them long to say yes. Two weeks later they were interviewing for the show in California.
The show was filmed in San Juan de Sur in Nicaragua from June 2 to July 10. It debuts at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 and runs several weeks until its final episode before Christmas.
Wentworth is the ninth farmer to appear on the show in 29 seasons over 14 years, a CBS spokeswoman said.
Being a farmer on the show is a Catch 22, Wentworth said.
“My dad taught us to forgo the luxury of servicemen,” he said. “We had to fix it ourselves. Every hour a piece of equipment sits you lose money so you get good at fixing stuff.”
That, having grown his own food and a strong work ethic were his attributes for the show, he said, while his biggest handicap was not being accustomed to relying on others.
“Survivor is a social game. How well you work with other people. They throw you curves,” Wentworth said. “My social circles for many years was a bunch of cows and my mom and dad. My biggest butterflies were how to react with people and relying on alliances.”
Wentworth was careful as he spoke not to reveal how he or others did since that’s all in the episodes for viewer to find out. He said his daughter can help him on the social side since in her job she’s use to making cold calls, meeting people and setting up promotions.
Each week two loved ones square off against each other in competition that sends the loser to Exile Island while the winner receives a reward for his or her tribe. The winner chooses a tribemate to accompany their loved one to Exile Island. Ultimately, the final survivor wins $1 million.
“No matter how it ends up, I couldn’t think of a better adventure to do with my daughter,” Wentworth said. “It’s something we will be able to talk about the rest of our lives.”