By Richard Rourk
Week one is in the books on Survivor: Edge of Extinction, and “the Tribe has spoken.”
Erwin native Gavin Whitson and his “Kama” tribe won immunity by winning the first obstacle course of the season. Due to contract requirements, Whitson will not be able to interview with The Erwin Record until the mid-season point of the juggernaut show.
The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce held a watch party for the first episode of the new season on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Unicoi County High School. Whitson was on hand to greet his fans, some of which traveled over two hours to meet the Survivor star.
A pre-show party included games, food trucks and other activities. Team Gavin merchandise, including T-shirts and bandanas, were sold.
Whitson’s southern wit, ingenuity and charm were on full display early in the first episode. Whitson even slipped a joke about what he would do with the $1 million prize.
“I might buy us a fourth stoplight for Main Street,” Whitson said.
Whitson showed off his athletic skills during the first challenge and also showed that he is a force to be reckoned with during the mental game of Survivor. Whitson was seen early on laying the groundwork for an alliance with other first-time players to oppose the veterans.
“Someone new needs to win this,” Whitson said.
Last week’s event had a large turnout.
“We had between 700-800 people stay for the screening in the auditorium,” Delp said.
That number does not include the individuals that came for the meet and greet only.
To purchase Team Gavin gear, please stop by the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce on Main Avenue.
“T-shirt sales have been tremendous,” Chamber Executive Director Amanda Delp told The Erwin Record. “We sold roughly 300 shirts during the premiere.”
To follow Whitson’s progress and for future viewing party events, please follow Team Gavin on Facebook.
Union Street Taproom also had a successful viewing party for the premiere and will continue to have a viewing party for each episode for the rest of the season. For more information about these events, follow Union Street Taproom on Facebook
The upcoming episode of Survivor is entitled “One of us is going to win this war,” and will premiere on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. on CBS.