One of Kentucky’s finest is one of the best to ever play Survivor.
Williamsburg native and UK alumnus Nick Wilson won season 37 of Survivor, David vs. Goliath, in December. This morning he spoke to T.J. Walker and I about his experience for more than 30 minutes on Kentucky Roll Call.
The conversation was not like most radio interviews. Nick and I spent a couple years living together in a soon-to-be condemned fraternity house. T.J. is a lifelong Survivor fan. Between the two of us, we spent plenty of time geeking and picking his brain about how the reality show works.
Filmed in the spring, Nick had to keep show secrets for about seven months. That was not his greatest dilemma. That occurred as the Kentucky fan was departing for Fiji in the middle of the NCAA Tournament.
“I watched the first half of the Sweet 16 game in my hotel room. We were in the airport during the second half. I was like, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’ I went to the bar and looked for the highlights and saw we lost,” Nick said. “I was probably the only Kentucky fan in the country that was glad we lost. I was so relieved.
“I cannot have the Cats going on a Final Four run when I am cut off from society for two months. That would’ve been all I thought about for the next six, seven weeks. I was so excited during the first half. I was like, ‘Let’s go Cats!’ Then once I stepped away from the TV, I was like, ‘Holy crap. If they win, I’m going to go crazy.'”
Kentucky’s loss was Nick’s gain. He kept his sanity throughout his Survivor experience, thanks to his small-town Eastern Kentucky roots.
“I gotta win for them. I felt like if I didn’t win I wouldn’t get everything out of this experience for me and the community,” he said.
“It motivated me, and that’s the God’s honest truth. When we would ride that boat to a challenge, I would think that I know when I get home and this is airing that everybody’s going to be so excited for me and supporting me non-stop. I wanna make ’em proud. The area we live in Southeastern Kentucky, where kids — I remember being in school and teachers ask, ‘What you wanna do?’ And they wouldn’t know or care. I wanted to win or at least do really well so people can look up to me because it’s a dream I had forever. I kept trying and trying until I got it. I worked hard for it and I felt like I earned it.”
Nick did not disappoint anybody in his community when he earned $1 million as the season 37 winner of Survivor.
The Survivor conversation begins around the 33-minute mark of today’s podcast.
Nick gets more bonus points for celebrating his victory at KSBar.
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