Richard "Rick" Nelson is a contestant from Survivor: South Pacific.

Nicknamed "Cowboy", Rick was a loyal member of The Family alliance and seemed likely to make it to the Final Tribal Council. With Ozzy Lusth winning immunity, the rest of the core targeted him instead and with their majority vote, blindsided him.


Retrieved from

Name (Age): Rick Nelson (51)
Tribe designation: Upolu
Current residence: Aurora, Utah
Occupation: Rancher
Personal claim to fame: My family and my ranch.
Inspiration in life: My grandfather. He built a very large ranch with his own determination and sheer willpower.
Hobbies: Team sorting, hunting, riding and playing on my horse.
Pet peeves: Quitters and lazy people who don't keep their word.
3 words to describe you: Outgoing, strong-willed and self-motivated.
Survivor contestant you are most like: J.T. He played a great game and won. He is country, strong-willed, a great competitor, good to get along with, not a quitter and true to his word in the end. I'd like to think if you put 15 years on him, he would mirror me - except I'm better.
Reason for being on Survivor: It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to prove that you can survive with next to nothing for 39 days and be one of 23 people in the world to be named "Sole Survivor." (And a million dollars would be nice).
Why you think you'll "survive" Survivor: I'm used to living out in the elements on a daily basis. I'm a hard worker. I can build a fire, shelter and I can hunt and fish. I'm easy to get along with, always have a positive attitude and a lifetime of little tricks to make life nicer while camping in the dirt.
Why you think you will be the Sole Survivor: After applying 14 times, I am driven and very determined to win the game. I will stop at nothing![1]


Rick started on the Upolu tribe. He was among the first people the audience saw that vocally confirmed he wasn't a fan of returning player Coach Wade. Upon Coach being added to the Upolu tribe, this didn't stop Rick from agreeing to an alliance with Coach, Sophie Clarke, Brandon Hantz, and Albert Destrade. This alliance would become one of the most unified and strongest in Survivor's history, with each member, including Rick, making it to the final 6 (only to be infiltrated by challenge dominator and returning player Ozzy Lusth.

Rick's game started relatively easily with most of the attention received by his alliance being directed toward the bigger personalities of Coach and Brandon, and with the alliance's main enemies Christine Shields Markoski and Stacey Powell being successfully voted off. However Rick found himself as the swing vote in Free Agent, when the main targets were Edna Ma and Mikayla Wingle. Edna was targeted by Albert and Sophie for her lack of strength, while Coach and Brandon targeted Mikayla since Edna was more likely to stay loyal to the core alliance. Rick cast the deciding vote against Mikayla, sending her to Redemption Island only to also lose to Christine.

Rick made it to the merge where he stayed true to the original Upolu members. The rival Savaii tribe targeted Rick for being the least likely to have a Hidden Immunity Idol. At Tribal Council, the vote was tied 6-6 with the original Upolu voting against native Savaii powerhouse Keith Tollefson and the original Savaii voting against Rick. In the revote, John Cochran flipped his vote towards Keith in one of the biggest moves of the season, sending Keith to Redemption Island and giving Upolu the power. Despite several Savaii members winning Individual Immunity (all except Keith and Cochran won at least one challenge post-merge), Rick and his alliance managed to eliminate the rest of the loyal Savaii members along with affiliates Cochran and Edna. Cochran attempted to persuade Edna, Albert, and Coach to vote Rick off, claiming Rick didn't like Albert, but was unsuccessful.

At this point, with no common enemy left, the tight alliance of five had to disband. Rick wasn't seen as an immediate target, in fact appearing to be in almost everyone's final three plans, such as Albert's. Brandon won immunity in "Then There Were Five", but he gave it to Albert. This move shocked Rick, who knew it was a foolish move, and took the opportunity to vote off Brandon, who was sent to Redemption Island to hopefully defeat Ozzy. Brandon was unsuccessful and Ozzy returned to the game. After Ozzy won the Day 37 Immunity Challenge, Rick was targeted for the third time in this game but appeared to be in graver danger than before, since he wasn't seen as helpful in the campaign to beat and eliminate Ozzy. Despite this, Rick hoped that since Sophie was a threat to win, others would realize that and vote her out. With only Ozzy voting with him, Rick was voted out 3-2 and when Coach attempted to hug Rick when Rick was getting his torch, Rick angrily told him to sit down. At this point, Redemption Island was no longer in play so Rick immediately became the 8th member of the jury. Feeling betrayed by his allies, Rick said in his exit confessional he would vote for Ozzy if Ozzy makes it to the end.

At the Final Tribal Council, Rick voted for Coach to win, admiring his gameplay throughout the season and ironically becoming a fan of him, despite initially disliking him. Coach however finished as the runner-up, losing to Sophie in a 6-3-0 vote.

Voting History

Rick's Voting History
Episode Rick's
Voted Against
1 Upolu Tribe Immune
2 Stacey -
3 Upolu Tribe Immune
4 Stacey -
5 Upolu Tribe Immune
6 Mikayla -
7 Upolu Tribe Immune
8 Keith;
Cochran, Dawn, Jim,
Keith, Ozzy, Whitney;
Dawn, Jim,
Ozzy, Whitney
9 Ozzy -
Jim -
10 Dawn -
Whitney -
12 Cochran Cochran, Edna
13 Edna -
14 Brandon -
15 Sophie Albert, Coach, Sophie
Voted Out, Day 37
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In "Double Agent", the vote ended with a 6-6 tie between Rick and Keith, forcing a revote. On the revote, Rick did not receive enough votes to send him to Redemption Island.



  • Rick was the oldest contestant on Survivor: South Pacific.
  • Rick had applied 14 times before getting cast on South Pacific.[3]
  • He is the second person to win the Sears competition for a chance to be a Survivor contestant, the first being Survivor: Nicaragua 's Jimmy Tarantino.
  • Rick is the only person voted out from South Pacific that wasn't sent to Redemption Island, as Ozzy was sent voted out twice before and returned.
  • Rick lost 23 lbs. during his time on South Pacific.[4]


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