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Outwit. Outplay. Out-audition.

Dreams of being picked as a ‘Survivor’ contestant (and winning
a million dollars) draw crowd.
Thursday, January 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:14 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

In the age of reality television with shows ranging from temptations on a deserted island to painting zebra stripes on your neighbor’s wall, Americans can get their 15 minutes of fame in more ways than ever. Patricia Tolentino knows exactly where she wants to get hers.

Tolentino, 21, brought a guitar to the Columbia Mall on Wednesday and hoped to stand out among other “Survivor” contestants with a song she had written the night before. Her song demonstrated her love for “Survivor” over other reality shows.

She sang, “I don’t wanna be on blind date, I don’t have any fears to factor, I already have a big brother, and I don’t want to meet the bachelor.”

Tolentino was one of 100 allowed to audition for CBS’ ninth episode of the reality adventure show, “Survivor.”

Each contestant was granted two minutes at the auditions sponsored by radio station Y107, television station KRCG and Capitol City Chrysler-Dodge.

KRCG taped the auditions and is to send them in to CBS casting, which selects 800 finalists from across the country to interview in March. From there, 16 finalists will be chosen in August.

The month and location of Episode Nine has not been revealed by CBS. Even the location of the next episode, “Survivor All Stars,” which is to be aired in February, has not been revealed.

“The secrecy is unreal,” said Kevin O’Neal, KRCG promotions manager.

People of many ages with dreams of being on “Survivor” came from all over mid-Missouri. Patsy Maher, 52, of Fayette, stood in line for 10 hours because she is determined to become a “Survivor” cast member.

“I will keep trying ’til I get picked,” Maher said. “My face will be in their memories when they go to sleep.”

Bruce Sigler, 54, is a retired schoolteacher and administrator from Centralia who has never missed an episode of “Survivor.” He says his love for adventure and the outdoors would make him a good contestant. He told producers about how he killed a 300-pound black bear last June while bow hunting in Northwest Manitoba.

Sigler arrived at the Columbia Mall at 6 a.m. Wednesday in order to claim the first spot in the line of contestants. He said he planned to get in front of the camera and be honest.

“I’m not going to do any song and dance — what they see is what they get,” Sigler said.

If picked for the show, Sigler said his strategy would not be as honest.

“I would try to blend in and kind of change roles as the situation changed. I can be a team player, but I can also out-fox individuals. I think I’m pretty smart, really.”

Darla Chappelle, 22, is a convenience store worker in Holt’s Summit. She says she feels that her love for fishing and camping will give her an edge on competitors.

Chappelle’s motivation for wanting to be a part of the show was simple: “Why not? A million dollars and a vacation. It might be a hard vacation, but it’s still a vacation.”

Aaron Peters, 28, works in a feed store and owns a construction company in Mexico. He and Chappelle met in the audition line and began discussing their love of adventure.

“I’m up for anything once, and then I’ll try it a second time just to make sure,” Peters said.

“That’s what it’s about, I don’t care about the money. Take the money out of the picture and I’m still going ... if at all possible. Just get me out there to play the game.”


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