The Crowley family and the volunteers that spend months each year organizing the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge had a thought following last year’s third edition of the event, at the end of August: Why not stage the challenge a couple of months earlier so they coud have the rest of the summer for more leisurely pursuits?

Bob Crowley, the million-dollar-winner of the 2008 CBS reality series, “Survivor: Gabon,” and the others decided this year to move the event to late June. The three-day Durham Warriors Survival Challenge will take place June 24-26 in the woods of the Crowleys’ Maine Forest Yurts in Durham, across from their home on the Auburn/Pownal Road.

The temperatures in late June can be iffy, and it’s likely there will be a few more flying insects around. No problem, says Crowley.

“It’s more patterned to ‘Survivor’ now. The more miserable they are, the more fun they’re having,” he said with a chuckle as he and his wife, Peggy, headed out to purchase a pontoon boat to enjoy this summer.

The organizers will have more summer fun of their own with the schedule change, said the Crowleys daughter, Page, who runs Maine Forest Yurts, located near Runaround Pond.

“We wanted to do it at the beginning of the summer instead of at the end, because once the challenge is over, summer is over,” she said.

The Durham Warriors Survival Challenge has a “Survivor” theme with a charity twist. The event helps fund the nonprofit Durham Warriors Project, whose mission it is to provide an opportunity for veterans, active duty military and their families to stay at the Maine Forest Yurts free of charge.

Last year, for the first time, six former “Survivor” show contestants took part in the games – double that of the first two seasons. This year, 20 challengers from 13 states have been selected to compete.

“We look for a wide demographic range. The committee puts a lot of thought into it,” Page Crowley said. “Some former ‘Survivor’ winners will be in the show, and some will be in the audience.”

Past “Survivor” contestants watching will include two-time victor Sandra Diaz and winner Richard Hatch, along with Dan Foley of Gorham, Jimmy Tarantino and Kathy Sleckman. Crowley would not name the former “Survivor” members who will be competing.

The contestants aren’t in it for the money. They pay to enter, in fact. There’s no monetary prize, but the winner does go home with the prestigious “Bobster,” a trophy made of lobster shells and named after Crowley.

Contestants will arrive at Maine Forest Yurts on Thursday, June 23. The challenge itself will be held the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday, after which the winner will be named.

Organizers are becoming more and more comfortable arranging an event that includes many challenges and hosts hundreds of people.

“We’re becoming a well-oiled machine,” she said.

Her parents, meanwhile, are looking forward to summer months on their new boat.

“It’s slightly selfish,” Bob Crowley said. “We wanted to have a little bit of summer to ourselves.”

Bob Crowley, reclining front right, poses for a photograph at last year’s Durham Warriors Survival Challenge.


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