MACOMB — Twenty-four players from across the nation have come to compete as tribes in mental and physical challenges at the Survival Challenge 2018.
Living on scarce resources, sleeping outside often in the pouring rain and slogging through muddy prairie land and green thickets are all part of Survival Challenge 2018.
The challenge began Wednesday and continues through Sunday on a 105-acre setting of prairie land located at 10899 East 950th St. on Highway 136, just past the Macomb Park District Family Entertainment Center.

Origins
Survival Challenge was originally conceived by CBS “Survivor” Season 17 winner and Maine-native Bob Crowley as the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge (DWSC) as a nonprofit event to raise money for veterans and schoolchildren. The Maine-based survival challenge went for five years before it was closed and relocated to Macomb.
Russell O’Cain is a 2013 Durham Warrior Survival Challenge winner and Kathi Dubar volunteered during the first year of Durham Warrior in 2013. Now they volunteer their time and effort to assist in the construction of sets, puzzles and obstacles for Survival Challenge 2018.

How the challenge works
O’Cain and Dubar spoke about a relay challenge where players fetch water from a small pond.
“This challenge here is called ‘Top it Off.’ They’ll be going with buckets to get water out of the pond, and then they have to (pass) the water to each other from the bucket, and whatever water they have left in the bucket by the time they move up (the) incline from the pond, they fill up an orange bucket that is sitting on a table,” Dubar said. “Then, the people holding the ropes on the bucket of water then have to take the bucket full of water, and using just the ropes, pour water into three (successively smaller) glass containers.”
The glass containers come in three gradients: tall and narrow, short and squat and a medium size container. “Once the (glass container) is filled up,” Dubar said, “they take the filled-up glass container to a white bucket and fill it with water. Whoever gets the white bucket filled up to the line soonest, wins the challenge.”
A tribe is granted immunity when they have successfully completed a challenge before the other two competing tribes.
“Immunity means they don’t have to go to tribal council,” said O’Cain. “The loser of this challenge (or any challenge) will go to tribal council most probably, and they’ll vote somebody off their tribe. Just like the show.”
“After each challenge, they go to tribal council, vote somebody out and as tribes dwindle down, at some point they will merge into a single tribe,” Dubar said. “And then everybody is playing for themselves. So, when they go to tribal council, after that, they’re trying to not get voted out of the game as an individual.”

A personal experience
O’Cain, who is from Cordova, South Carolina, spoke about his first year as a player in the Durham Warriors Challenge in 2013.
“That first year was amazing. The first night they grab you and they say, ‘We’re going to take you out into the woods and you’re going to spend a night in the woods by yourself,’” O’Cain said. “And they did. They took you into the woods, they put you in a spot, you couldn’t move out of your spot which had a 15-foot radius, and you had to stay in that spot.”
The temperature that first night “got down to 38 degrees and I froze. I mean, I shook and shook the whole night,” O’Cain said. “I got probably not even an hour’s sleep. I mean, I dozed off and woke up, right back up shaking.”
Survival Challenge 2018 is an authentic “Survivor” experience, Dubar said. “They’re getting the true experience – hot or cold, no comfort and no food. If it’s raining and they have no shelter, they can get wet.” And yes, that includes the recent torrential rains.
“Some tribes won a tarp,” O’Cain said, “and they got the tarp setup to try to keep dry. One tribe actually did not win a tarp. So, they were in the rain all night. They had to build their own little shelter out of tree limbs and leaves. They were out in it.”
Durham Warriors Survival Challenge and Survival Challenge 2018 are not affiliated with the CBS “Survivor” television show.
There will be live video feeds on the Survival Challenge 2018 Facebook page for those watching online. For more information about Survival Challenge 2018, go to http://www.survivalchallenge.net/
Visit their Facebook page by searching “survival challenge.”

Reach Christopher Ginn by email at cginn@mcdonoughvoicecom or see him on Facebook.