Dan Rengering talks 'Survivor': I made a lot of blunders, why target me if I really was the "least strategic" Goliath?! (Exclusive)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/27/2018
Dan Rengering was eliminated from Survivor: David vs. Goliath after a dramatic Tribal Council in which two secret advantages were played as well as a hidden Immunity Idol during Wednesday night's Survivor Season 37 episode on CBS.
Dan, a 27-year-old S.W.A.T. officer from Lake Butler, FL, who currently resides in Gainesville, FL, became the tenth castaway to leave the game on Day 25 through a 6-3-2 vote at Tribal Council.
Dan had played a hidden Immunity Idol for himself; however, Carl Boudreaux played his "idol nullifier" to void the power of Dan's idol. In addition, Nick Wilson played his "steal-a-vote" advantage, stealing Alison Raybould's vote and voting twice for Dan.
"You think when you have an idol you're golden, but I just got knocked out of the game. Who would've thought that there was a doggone idol nullifier? Who's ever heard of that?! It took the Davids two advantages and turning some Goliaths to take me out. I take a lot of pride in that," Dan said following his Survivor ouster.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Dan discussed his Survivor experience and vote off. Below is a portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Would you say your fatal flaw in the game was your idol management, meaning you not hiding the first idol (resulting in Jeremy Crawford searching through your stuff) and then telling your supposed allies about your second idol? Because had you been more secretive about them, Carl might never have known to play his "idol nullifier" for you.
Dan Rengering: Well, I mean, I'll be honest. I did watch the show a lot before, but I wasn't a Super Fan who had been watching it for the whole time it's been on. So I had never seen anybody going through somebody's stuff.
And, you know, I like to look for the best in people. I know I don't see it a lot doing what I do as a cop, so I like to look for the best in people. So that never crossed my mind. I was like, "I would never do that. Why would anyone else do that?! That's just wrong."
And then [Natalia Azoqa] and Kara were with me whenever I found that second one, so there was no hiding that big old rock. So if I didn't tell them, "Hey, yo, I found it," then they would think I was trying to be sneaky. And this big old rock, there was no hiding that in my pants for sure.
So I kind of had to tell them at that point, and then telling Kara about my second one, she was the person -- like, in my normal, everyday life, I discuss big decisions with the people that I trust the most, and she was the person I trusted the most out there.
So I couldn't discuss my big moves and decisions and whatever else I was planning on doing unless she knew I had it. She was just the person I thought I could springboard stuff off of. It was probably not the best decision on my part, but it was what I felt like I needed to do at the time.
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Reality TV World: Just curious, how many Survivor seasons had you watched prior to appearing on the show?
Dan Rengering: Oh, probably like 10-15. I watched that stuff while I was at work. Any time I had a chance, I was watching as much as I could. I watched it a lot, but I've never seen anybody going through somebody's stuff!
Reality TV World: What was your relationship with Alec Merlino and Alison like out there in the game? Did you have any idea they were scheming with the Davids as much as they were? Were you really surprised when they flipped?
Dan Rengering: I can't be surprised about Alec because he was the first one who voted a Goliath out, you know, whenever we did the tribe swap. So I wasn't surprised by him.
I was definitely surprised by Alison. One of the things we preached early on in the game was staying "Goliath strong," because we all believed that if a David was going to make it to the end, he would win. So, we were all pushing for "Goliath strong." Yeah, I was a little bit surprised.
Reality TV World: Alison was very torn in her decision to jump ship though. Looking back, do you think there was anything that could have been said or done to make her feel more secure with the Goliaths?
Dan Rengering: I don't know, to be honest. Maybe. If I spent more time with her and made her a brochacho, maybe. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Alec called you "the least strategic" person of the remaining original Goliaths. What was your reaction to that?
Dan Rengering: I mean, we're all entitled to our own opinion. If that's how he sees it, then that's how he sees it. But, you know, a lot of people could look at it as he's not very strategic either when he voted out Natalia and it put him at the bottom of our numbers.
So, it is what it is. We are all entitled to our own opinion. I can't be upset about it; he's a cool dude and I'm a big fan of him. So, I'm not mad.
I know I made a lot of blunders out there! I wore my emotions on my sleeve and I didn't hide it very well, and that's definitely not the most strategic thing to do, for sure.
Reality TV World: If you really were the least strategic person though, wouldn't you think it would have made more sense to go after a different Goliath, like Angelina?
Dan Rengering: I mean, that's what I'm saying! I didn't see myself as a big threat. There were definitely other people who were more strategic than me on the Goliaths. If I'm the least strategic, then what are they worried about with me?! I definitely agree with that statement.
Reality TV World: And Christian was still around, a huge looming threat!
Dan Rengering: That kid is a rockstar! He was a good player. We definitely needed to take him out as early as we could, but we fumbled that twice -- three times.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of our exclusive Survivor interview with Dan.