Don't cry for Dolly Neely, America. Truth is, the 25-year-old Pennsylvania sheep farmer (and Cindy Brady lookalike) was happy to be the second contestant voted off Survivor: Vanuatu.
"I was so relieved," she laughs. "On the way to tribal council, I was thinking, 'You know, this just isn't for me.' I didn't like everyone coming to me and saying, 'Who are you voting for?' and 'Who should I vote for?' My first thought was, 'Whoa boy, get me out of here!'"
Aside from all the backstabbing intrigue, Neely was also troubled by her tribe's generational split. Right from the start, the younger women stuck together, while the older ones formed their own group. "The first night, Julie, Mia and myself were laughing and giggling. Twila, Scout and Leanne were kind of doing their own thing, too," she recalls. "[The split] happened very, very quickly."
Unlike the other players in her age bracket, however, Neely feels she got along with both the younger and older folks. Asked if she planned to use this to her advantage, the kindly shepherdess shakes her head. "I wasn't even thinking about that," she insists. "I was just thinking 'Hey, I'm getting along with everyone. I'll probably get through this whole thing without even one vote!' But, of course, it turned out to be the total opposite."
Since leaving Vanuatu, Neely has returned to her grandfather's 90-acre sheep farm, which she's run by herself since he passed away in November 2003. "It's mostly a morning job, except when we're having lambs," she explains. "Then it's all day because you never know when they'll be popping out. In general, it's just typical maintenance work. You have to feed the sheep, shear them, clip their hooves. You have to give them medicine when they need it. If a mother doesn't make milk, you've got to feed the babies, raise 'em to about 75 or 100 lbs. and send 'em off to be eaten.
"I have around 40 to 50 sheep at any given time, and I've got one guy that helps me out with some of the tougher things," she continues. "I love every minute of it." One farming skill she hasn't mastered is harvesting poultry, as evidenced on last week's episode, when her tribe tried and failed to catch a chicken that had wandered into their camp."I threw a rock at it," she remembers, "but that chicken must have been immortal because it was pelted with a rock and stabbed with a machete and it still managed to escape!" Maybe she'd have had more luck if that foul fowl had been covered in wool....