Local woman emerges unscathed from initial ‘Survivor’ episode
She's officially a survivor.
Tonganoxie native Danni Boatwright remains a castaway on "Survivor: Guatemala," which aired for the first time last Thursday on CBS.
Jim Lynch, a 63-year-old retired fire captain from Northglenn, Colo., was the first castaway voted off the show. Lynch was a member of the Nakum tribe, of which Boatwright also is a member. The Nakum tribe won a 11.5-mile hike through the jungle against the Yakha tribe and was given the better of two camp sites for winning the "reward challenge." The Nakum tribe, however, lost the "immunity challenge," and therefore had to vote one of its members off.
Lynch, a native of Scott's Bluff, Neb., injured his arm in during the challenge and was the leading choice to be voted off first.
Although contractual agreements prohibit Boatwright from speaking to the media until after the episode airs in which she is voted off the show, her mother, Vicki Cackler, is allowed to discuss the show.
She weighed in about Lynch being voted off first.
"You don't know what happens," Cackler said. "He may have told them he couldn't go on."
Cackler said it was a "no-brainer" that Lynch was the first to go.
"He was hurt," Cackler said.
But Lynch wasn't the only Nakum tribal member injured early on. Blake Towsley had a thorn-filled tree come down on his arm during the 11.5-mile hike. Another Nakum member, Bobby Jo Drinkard, had severe leg cramps during the first episode.
Drinkard and Stephenie DeGrossa were introduced as the 17th and 18th castaways during the first episode. In a new twist to the Survivor saga, Drinkard and DeGrossa competed on "Survivor: Palau," the previous installment of the reality series.
The newest Survivor season has been deemed by some as the toughest yet.
"Palau was recess compared to Guatemala," Drinkard said during the first episode.
Of all the cast members in the Nakum tribe who was hurt, none was a woman.
And the only male to truly make it through the first episode without any ailments was a fellow Kansan. Manhattan's Brandon Bellinger advanced with the other 17 castaways to the next episode.
"We're so glad he's around for the second episode," Cackler said.
Cackler thought being from rural areas helped, for instance, her daughter and Bellinger. Because Bellinger is a farmer/rancher, Cackler said he has adapted to working long hours outdoors. Same goes for her daughter, Cackler said, who has trained for marathons.
"You just can't take a city person and dump them in the jungle all of the sudden," Cackler said.
After viewing the first episode, Cackler assessed the two tribes.
"Nakum, if they get well, has a powerhouse of muscle," Cackler said.
As for the Yaxha tribe, Cackler thought they had more of a "follow-the-leader" attitude.
Boatwright again will be on television for the second episode this week, to air at 7 p.m. Thursday on Sunflower Broadband channels 5 and 13.
In Tonganoxie, Bichelmeyer's restaurant is having a weekly watch party for residents to watch Boatwright continue to compete.
"Everyone can come in and watch it together," Cackler said. "What a cool town Tonganoxie is. What a neat place."
The day after the first episode, Cackler said she was happy her daughter still was on the show.
"I'm pretty good after last night," Vicki Cackler said. "We're still alive."