Stapley adding to strong Iowa heritage on "Survivor"
An S8 housing case worker from Des Moines, Rory was gruff, surly and opinionated. But he was also a hard worker and strong in challenges – traits that helped him survive a tribal swap where he was trapped against a powerful all-female alliance during the show’s “Battle of the Sexes” ninth season. Telling the ladies that if he didn’t have a shot at tribal council, they would have to build their own shelter and fires and find their own food, the ladies instead ate one of their own and allowed him to make it to the merge – where Rory immediately jumped back to his original alliance of men. However, the men were betrayed by their own female defectors from the swap, surprising Rory as the final player voted out before the jury phase.
A native of Osceola, the hard-edged, tomboyish highway repair worker from Marshall, Mo., was one of the betrayers who rejoined the women at the merge and ousted Rory. The ladies systematically took out the men one by one until only one remained – Ohio highway construction worker Chris Daugherty. However, Twila and her closest ally – Oklahoma rancher Scout Cloud Lee – realized they were at the bottom of the ladies’ pecking order; they then grabbed Chris and a fellow outsider – Syracuse pre-law student Eliza Orlins – and turned the tables on the female alliance’s three kingpins. Twila rode into the finals with Chris, but the women never forgave her for betraying them (she notoriously promised her loyalty to the women’s alliance by swearing on her son’s life, only to later break that promise). Alas, Chris was able to close out his remarkable comeback by defeating the final six women, winning the title of Sole Survivor in a 5-2 vote.
The hairdresser from Charles City (she studied at North Iowa Area Community College and the Marshalltown Cosmetology School), considered annoying for her constant chattering, took advantage of a twist – a rare second pre-merge tribal swap – and wisely flipped on the arrogant tribemates that had counted her out all game long right before the merge, creating a power shift that put her near the top of the pecking order for the remainder of the game. In post-game interviews, Smith herself has admitted that she rode the coattails of stronger players all the way to the final tribal council. However, her tribe-mates noticed … and she lost to lovable Maine physics teacher Bob Crowley by a narrow 4-3 vote.