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Name: Sierra Dawn Thomas
Current Residence: Roy, Utah
Occupation: Barrel Racer
Gordon Holmes: OK, a quick ground rule; anything you say here stays here. None of the other contestants will hear this until just before the season airs.
Sierra Dawn Thomas: So, you’re not going to throw me under the bus?
Holmes: Well, we’ll see how it goes.
Thomas: (Laughs) This chick is the worst!
Holmes: She said she was going to vote for you first!
Holmes: OK, please explain barrel racing to people who haven’t watched “Heartland” as often as I have.
Thomas: (Laughs) I’ve never seen “Heartland,” but barrel racing is a sport. It’s a timed event. You’re on fast horses. You’re timed with an electric eye and you have to do a certain pattern and the fastest time wins. Thousandths of a second separate first from like fifth place. So, you’ve got to be fast and turn tight.
Holmes: And it helps to be 6’1” to be a barrel racer?
Thomas: (Laughs) No, I’m actually really tall for being a barrel racer. A lot of people think it’s a disadvantage because there’s more of me on the horse. I weigh more than the smaller, petite girls. But, I have big horses.
Holmes: Are any of these barrel racing events televised?
Holmes: You’re about to compete in front of a sea of cameras. Do you think you’ll have an advantage because you’ve performed on TV before?
Thomas: Absolutely. I perform in front of 50,000 people. That stuff doesn’t faze me at all. I keep my eye on the prize and stay focused.
Holmes: What’re your first thoughts on this place?
Thomas: It’s not too hot, not too humid. I’m excited to get out there and live in it.
Holmes: Do you have experience roughing it?
Thomas: I live in a horse trailer nine months out of the year, so absolutely. I don’t always have running water, power, all of those things are extra to me. I pretty much am like a gypsy. I travel all the time.
Holmes: So there’s a barrel racing circuit and you do different events in different areas?
Thomas: There are rodeos in different cities across the US and Canada.
Holmes: You’re heading into a game that has traditionally featured a lie or two. Are you comfortable lying?
Thomas: In my everyday life? Absolutely not. I’m a very loyal person. Not just with people, but with my animals.
Holmes: You don’t lie to your animals?
Thomas: (Laughs) Well, I’m there to feed them. I’m there to take care of them. They rely on me. I’m a loyal person. I know I’m going to have to lie out here. It’s not normal for me.
Holmes: Are you good at it?
Thomas: We’ll see. I don’t practice it. But I’ll lie for a million dollars.
Holmes: Are you willing to use your model good looks to get ahead?
Thomas: Absolutely. I do that in my everyday life. You need help when you’re on the road. I live on the road by myself. I need assistance, I need help changing tires. I can do it all myself, but I’m not afraid to act like I’m struggling to get help from the male gender.
Holmes: Is there a boyfriend at home who will be annoyed if you’re flirting on national TV?
Thomas: Absolutely not.
Holmes: No boyfriend, or he won’t be annoyed?
Thomas: (Laughs) There’s no boyfriend.
Holmes: Are you a “Survivor” fan?
Thomas: Yes, but I’m not a die-hard fan. I remember when it first came out. I watched it a lot. The last couple of seasons I’ve watched. But like I said, I live in a horse trailer. I don’t have a TV. I haven’t been to a movie theater in probably ten years.
Holmes: Mind blown.
Thomas: I just saw it explode. But, it’s true. I don’t live a normal life.
Holmes: No wonder you haven’t seen “Heartland.”
Holmes: I’m going to send you some DVDs.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it’ll be?
Thomas: I don’t have any guesses, but I do know it’s the 30th season. There’s got to be something up their sleeves. I’m ready for anything. Life throws me crazy things all the time.
Holmes: What do you think of the cast members?
Thomas: There’s a couple of younger, fit guys that I’d like to get into an alliance with. There are a couple of old guys that I think might fall off pretty quick. They’re already rubbing their knees and stretching their backs. As far as the ladies, they all seem a little soft. I think I’m stronger than most of them. I’m confident that I can compete with any one of these girls.
Holmes: If you could align with any past “Survivor” player, who would it be?
Thomas: You know…as much as he bothered me, I’d have to go with Tony. He was smart, conniving, athletic.
Holmes: You signed up for 39 days of people trying to deceive you. How well do you deal with paranoia?
Thomas: To be honest, I’ll be really paranoid. But, I think that’s a part of the game. I’ll be watching people’s expressions between one another. They’re going to be scheming, they’re going to be plotting. I’m not naïve. People will walk off and talk about me, but you have to stay one step ahead.
Holmes: Why do you think you were cast?
Thomas: I’m a woman that lives in a man’s world every day. I don’t do a 9-to-5, I do a 5-to-9. I’m up fifteen hours riding ten head of horses or riding half way across the nation. I think I truly have what it takes to win. I can keep up with the boys.
Holmes: Are you worried about the lack of food?
Thomas: I go days without food. I live on gas station food. Sometimes I go three days without sleep. I adjust.
Holmes: Are you chugging coffee?
Thomas: Yeah, a lot of caffeine. A lot of Monsters. A lot of unhealthy gas-station burritos. It’s my favorite thing in life.
Holmes: I’m not judging.
Thomas: (Laughs) They are delicious.
Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.