He fought hard. He fought well. It just wasn’t quite enough. One week after seeing his daughter voted off, it was Dale’s turn to have his torch snuffed. Dale spoke to us about his Hidden Immunity Idol scheme, whether he would have voted his own daughter out of the game and the feud with Baylor.
John Powell: It seemed like you were never in a favourable position out there, always behind the eight-ball, is that how it felt for you?
“Missy had Ketih wrapped around her finger.”
Dale Wentworth: No, because there were alliances I was working on. I only had three votes against me and after that, there was none. Some of my alliances were slower in developing than what the younger kids did. If it hadn’t been for the tribal swap I was feeling pretty comfortable.
John Powell: What surprised me is that after the swap there didn’t seem to be any strategy talks between you and Keith. It seems that would be a natural partnership. Why didn’t that happen?
Dale Wentworth: Keith and I actually spent quite a bit of time talking together over a couple of days. I was working an alliance with Wes before the tribal swap. I spent a lot of time talking with his son. When Keith came over, I started talking to him, hopefully to explore a partnership. We went through the voting on my final tribal and he agreed with me 100 per cent but Missy had him wrapped around her finger. There was nothing anyone could do to convince him otherwise. He was going to stay with Missy and that alliance. You saw it on Kelley’s tribe. He walked up to Missy and Baylor and said…How do you want me to vote? They told him, he was okay with that, he goes back and fishes. That was it. He took his orders from Missy, that is where he stayed and he wasn’t going to swap. I will give him props. They are still in the game and I am not so it must be working for him.
John Powell: Where did the idea come from to trade the phony Hidden Immunity Idol and why did you target Jon?
Dale Wentworth: Well, there are two things. I am a fan of Survivor and have seen the fake Hidden Immunity Idol being played before to great effectiveness. I cannot remember the player but he was given a fake Idol, he thought it was real and played it at Tribal. He gave it to Jeff (Probst), it wasn’t real and he went home. It was an amazing blindside. On the first day when I saw that trinket I thought…It cannot hurt. If nothing else, I will have something to make a necklace of when I go home. So, it was a plan from watching the show. I waited and hung onto it until I didn’t have any other choice. I wanted to give it to someone. When I knew I was going home after Kelley, I picked Jon because he came in from the other tribe so he might not have been aware of how many clues I had found and how much time I had been searching. He might be the one who was the most impressionable or most gullible. Jon was the best one I could talk to. I knew soon as I made the offer to Jon the information would make it to the others immediately.
Editor’s Note: It was Randy Bailey who was tricked by Bob Crowley into playing the fake Hidden Immunity Idol on Survivor: Gabon and was voted out.
John Powell: You and Baylor never seemed to get along. When did those bad feelings first start? How did it all begin?
“Baylor tattletaled to her mom that I was this big, bad guy and that poisoned the well.”
Dale Wentworth: That happened during the first four or five hours of hitting the beach. We were walking around looking for firewood and I came up, just like you do on Survivor, and said I was interested in building an alliance. She looked at me and said…I haven’t looked that far ahead yet. When I do, I will talk to you. [Laughs] I don’t know if she thought I was one of her mom’s ex-husbands or something like that, obviously there were issues. That was the limit of my conversation with Baylor. It was like a hand in the face. She didn’t want to talk to me ever again. I never said a bad word to her. I never came after her or anything like that. We got off on the wrong foot and I got stabbed in the back. She tattletaled to her mom that I was this big, bad guy and that poisoned the well.
John Powell: What was it like playing the Survivor game with your daughter?
Dale Wentworth: Watching her on her birthday winning the Immunity Challenge, which was unfortunate because she sent me to Tribal [Laughs], that was the best part of it. She never gave up. She went ahead and kicked Jaclyn’s butt. Playing with Kelley was worth more than winning the game. We are the first father-daughter team to be on Survivor and we will always have that.
John Powell: When we spoke to Kelley last week, she said she was so proud of the way you played. What does that mean to you?
Dale Wentworth: Well, coming from her…You are always… [Audible pause] You are always looking for your kids to be proud of you and that sort of stuff. [Audible pause] Playing with your loved one on the island is a unique experience in itself. There are some things that are worth more than the money Jeff (Probst) could have paid us.
John Powell: She also said you are a person who speaks your mind and doesn’t mince his words. Was it hard for you to hold your tongue out there?
Dale Wentworth: That was one of the things that impressed me the most. My daughter and I swapped roles. Kelley always wants to fight every battle. No matter what. She wants to fight every battle. My point of view is, you don’t have to fight every battle to win the war. I was willing to go to battle right off the bat like that rice thing with Missy, which was way overblown. That is when Kelley came up and said…This small battle is not worth it. So, we completely swapped roles within the game. It was amazing to watch my daughter take my advice and say to me…You don’t have to win every battle to win the war. Pick your battles wisely. She came back and gave me the advice that I had given to her. In a way, it pissed me off. [Laughter]
“If you can keep the two or three person alliance going to the merge then you have loyal people. It was just Survivor basics.”
John Powell: Well, you can look at it this way, you obviously taught her well?
Dale Wentworth: …and the game is what brought that out. She gave me my own advice back and in that situation, she was right. I had to calm down a little bit. [Laughter]
John Powell: Did you and Kelley talk strategy before entering the game?
Dale Wentworth: Just Survivor 101 strategy. Build a strong core alliance within your tribe and build some loyalty. You tell someone you are going to vote a certain way, you vote that way. If you can keep the two or three person alliance going to the merge then you have loyal people. It was just Survivor basics. We decided if we both made it to the merge, we would sit down and discuss who was in a more solid alliance. There were really no rules that we came up with.
John Powell: What impact did Survivor have on your relationship with Kelley?
Dale Wentworth: Kelley and I have never been closer. It was so nice because it put us into something we both have a passion for, which is the game of Survivor. We were both able to play it together. It was worth more than Jeff (Probst) could have paid us. The experience is going to last longer than perhaps the money would have. Not that we would have blown the money. [Laughter] My grandkids already hear about it. Every time we get together, we all talk Survivor. That will last forever.
John Powell: As a life-long fan, what surprised you most about the experience?
Dale Wentworth: When we went out the first night, Kelley and I had butterflies in our stomachs. We were going to play Survivor! We had grins on our faces. About 18 to 20 hours in, you look around and say…Oh, my god. This is really going to hurt. This is going to hurt in ways I never imagined. That’s when it starts being a game. After your first night, when don’t have a shelter, you are curled up with bugs and spiders, you are looking at the sky thinking to yourself…They weren’t kidding. You have no idea what the experience is going to do to you. It really shocks you.
John Powell: Did you and Kelley discuss the possibility of having to vote each other out? Was it a sensitive topic to bring up?
Dale Wentworth: It wasn’t very sensitive. We brought it up right away. Sorry, girl, there is only one winner and it is going to be me. [Laughter] You are my daughter for life but this is a 39 day game and I hope you can take second place because I am going to take first. [Laughter] That is how I raised my daughter. She is very competitive, just like I am. Saying all of this and doing it, is very different. Once you get in the game, your emotions can completely change. That’s the other part of the game, the mental part. It is phenomenal what it does to you out there. Pre-game, we admitted, we would take each other out.