With two different hidden immunity idols flushed out during tribal council negating the more plentiful votes for two others (his dad Keith Nale and alpha male Jon Misch), Wes was sent to be the third member of the jury with just two votes.
This week, the country boy was still shaking his head over the strange turn of events. “Long as I watched it,” he drawled over the phone from his home in Shreveport, La., he’d never seen someone ousted on so few votes “without doing some type of finagling or tie-breaker or something.”
But he knew what was coming after a messy tribal council in which everyone showed their hand. His dad Keith started it of by saying, “Stick to the plan” out loud, tipping Natalie Anderson to encourage Jon to play his idol.
“He definitely shouldn’t have said ‘Stick to the plan,’” Wes says. “That was the downfall of the whole tribal.”
At that point, “as soon as Jon played his idol I knew it was me or my dad,” he says. “I kind of figured it was going to be one of us as soon as he played it.”
Wes had a chance to save himself when he was given the chance to use his dad’s immunity idol if he wanted.
“I told the man, ‘It’s your idol, play it as you want to play it,’” Wes says. “I’m not going to just sit there and take his idol. He told me, he said, ‘you could have it.”
But even after he shrugged it off, he adds, he might have had a chance. “I figured he might walk up to Jeff and say, ‘Hey, I want to give this for Wesley,’“ he says. “He didn’t do that. And it turned out bad for me.”
Father and son had discussed all the possibilities earlier and figured that if one of them had to go, it may be more beneficial to have the elder Nale stay and the younger one leave, since he would have been considered more of a threat in competitions at age 23 rather than somebody who is 53.
Indeed, Wes says he was feeling no pain at the immunity challenge this week either, while the others who outlasted him, Natalie and Reed Kelly were having a tougher time. “I felt all right, I felt good,” he says.
It was the offer of food that lured him off the perch he’d been on for an hour.
His verdict on the resulting feast: “Twenty-five wings and two beers were definitely not worth a million bucks,” he says. “They weren’t that good. I immediately regretted getting down, thinking ‘What the hell are you doin’?’ Steppin’ down for 25 wings. My stomach took over I guess.”
And yet, such gorging was one of the skills the Southern firefighter brought to Survivor. “Back in high school I ate 58 nuggets in five minutes,” he says with some pride. “I was back in my prime.”
He was too out of shape to try that many on the island – or rather, too in shape.
“I don’t have the capacity like I used to after my stomach shrink out there. It took me a good 30 minutes to eat those.”
He might have learned about his limitations when he overloaded on tacos during an earlier reward challenge a few weeks back. “I definitely overloaded on the tacos,” Wes laments now. “But hey, it was unlimited tacos. I just didn’t have the will power to stop.”
No matter how it looked on TV, though, Wes says he was strategizing and playing the game more than it seemed.
“They portrayed me as just going along with the votes and stuff. I’m not going to say I was the mastermind of all the playing, or had all the big moves. But I feel like I had some say- so,” Wes says. “I’d like to say I did a little bit. But not as much as I could have.”
He is proud, however, at getting as to have far as he and his dad did. “I was just hoping I’d make it to the merge and I could see his face at the merge too, and I was surprised we both made it.”
And Keith – the lone old guy to continue – keeps going into tonight’s two hour episode that will leave just six players.
No matter how far he goes, they’ve both benefitted, Wes says. “I felt we grew closer as a result,” he says. “We usually don’t show much emotion and whatnot. But I feel like he really opened up. I only seen him cry one other time that I can remember before I seen him cry up there. It was emotional and I felt it made us go a little stronger.”