Archive for Wednesday, August 17, 2005

She’s a ‘survivor’

Tonganoxie woman competes on upcoming season of CBS program

August 17, 2005

Tonganoxie native Danni Boatwright is best known for being the runner-up in the 1996 Miss USA pageant.

And now, nine years later, she's again participating in a televised competition. But this one is far from swimsuits and evening gowns.

Boatwright is a castaway on the CBS show "Survivor: Guatemala," which premieres Sept. 15 on Sunflower Broadband channels 5 and 13.

CBS prohibits contestants from talking about their experiences on the show until the final episode airs. So Boatwright said she couldn't discuss the show with The Mirror.

However, her mother, Vicki Cackler, said other reality show producers had approached Boatwright about being on their shows, but she refused.

"This was the only one that really interested her," Cackler said. "Because it's a contest, it pushes you. I think that's what intrigued her."

Getting ready

To prepare for the trip to Guatemala, Cackler said her daughter did research on the country. Boatwright's sister-in-law, Patti Cackler, who is a teacher in Tonganoxie, helped Boatwright with research and then quizzed her about Guatemala.

"She knew ahead of time where it was going to be ... She knew what she was getting into," Cackler said.

To physically prepare for Guatemala, Boatwright trained at Unlimited Fitness in Tonganoxie. Boatwright took nonu juice, a substance that helps build a person's immune system. She also used triotein, Cackler said, to help in her training. Triotein is a powder that is a protein supplement.

"They've just been phenomenal working with her," Cackler said.

Boatwright didn't limit her training to exercise. She also made a trip to Cabela's and asked employees about survival training. They taught her how to use a bow and arrow, among other things. Although she knew how to fish, stepfather Jim Cackler gave her additional pointers.

Of course, Cabela's workers had no idea she would be on "Survivor."

On the Web

Of the 16 castaways on this season's show, two are from Kansas -- Boatwright and Manhattan's Brandon Bellinger. Washington state is the only other state with multiple contestants.

At the network's Web site,, bios of Boatwright and other castaways are featured.

Other Web sites, such as and, are independent sites that post more information, some that's false.

Cackler said one site states that Boatwright is married, but Cackler said she no longer is married.

The independent Web sites also have posts about who they think will be voted off, along with other comments and opinions.

"There are Survivor groupies like you would not believe," Cackler said. "They're hilarious.

"There are some that are nice and some that are not nice."

The show will end in December. Until then, Cackler can't comment on anything about the show because of contract agreements.

Whether Boatwright is the Survivor and $1 million richer is uncertain, but Cackler said it's clear that her daughter is proud of her hometown. Boatwright, who recently had lived in Kansas City, currently lives in Tonganoxie. Her mother said she never has opted to list her home as Kansas City on the CBS Web site.

"She's never said Kansas City or Shawnee or Johnson County," Cackler said. "She loves her home, which is Tonganoxie."

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