Parkite Steele DeWald ventures into the wild
July 8, 2011
How did Park City’s Steele DeWald find himself in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest with a total stranger?
"It’s kind of funny how I got into it," he said.
While in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the pro golfer stays during the winter, DeWald said he met two women at a bar one night. They began grilling him about his dating life.
"After that, I wanted to know what the hell was going on," he said, laughing.
Turns out the women were casting directors for a new reality show on NBC called "Love in the Wild," a show that has been described as a mixture between "The Amazing Race" and "The Bachelor."
DeWald said, after a couple hours of conversation, he left the bar not thinking anything of it.
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"To be honest, I forgot about the whole thing," he said. "I wasn’t expecting to get on the show."
Nearly 11 months later, the phone rings and NBC tells him they’d like to fly him out to Los Angeles for an interview. They said he was a finalist to be on the show.
He said he went through "some crazy stuff" as part of background testing. He was put through intensive psychiatric evaluations. Then, after meeting with the producers and completing health tests, he got the green light.
The former Park City Ski Team member who grew up ski racing until age 15, who went on to play collegiate golf in the Pac-10, was now one of 20 stars of a reality show in a foreign country.
DeWald said the show features 10 males and 10 females; each is paired with a member of the opposite sex to go through a series of grueling mental and physical tests.
DeWald’s first test? He was dropped in the middle of the jungle with nothing more than a map and raft.
"We had to navigate through the jungle," he said. "Basically, you get thrown into these adventures that are long and tedious and you really get to know the person you’re with. no means it’s not fun and games. It gets real fast."
The show filmed in Costa Rica for a month, he said, and it was his first time in the country.
"There’s some spectacular views out there," he said. "We did not get to experience any culture, just because we were kind of sequestered. The show rented out a resort and we stayed in the bungalows. The only time we did leave was to go on these adventures."
The focus was on the challenges and avoiding elimination. The elimination process is based around how couples fare each week.
While many would give anything to experience what DeWald went through, it wasn’t all peaches, he said, looking back on his first experience with reality TV.
"It’s tough if you end up with somebody you don’t like," he said. "You have to sleep in the same room. It’s like dating on steroids times 10. If you think about it, if you’re dating a girl, you go on four or five dates, and that’s about 10 to 14 hours spent with them. There, literally a day seemed like two or three weeks.
"It was cool; I’m glad I did it. I just had to do a lot of things I had never done before. I made some good relationships."
As DeWald continues to make his home in Park City and spend winters in Scottsdale golfing, he said the reality TV route could play a part in his future. The sport of golf has jumped onto the reality bandwagon and The Golf Channel has an immensely popular show called "Big Break," where selected golfers have to play specialized games to survive each week. DeWald said he has two close friends who have won on the show.
As for "Love in the Wild," DeWald said he watches each week with absolutely no idea what producers decide to air. He enjoys the drama of what could come on the tube.
"I’m kind of just in awe of it," he said.
The show has already aired twice and is scheduled to air next on Wednesday, July 13. For more information on the show, go to http://www.nbc.com/love-in-the-wild.