Premiere Exclusive

Rodger Bingham

Rodger Bingham Rodger Bingham

Rodger Bingham Bio

Why would a top-rated reality show pick someone from the small town of Crittenden, let alone anyone from Kentucky for that matter? The answer is simple. Survivor chose Rodger "Kentucky Joe" Bingham because he was a man highly respected by his community and now highly envied by 48,884 other people not chosen for Survivor: The Australian Outback.

Rodger Bingham, born July 5, 1947, has always lived in Crittenden. He went to Grant County High School where he excelled in athletics. Rodger played basketball from his freshman to senior year, and competed in track and field. He still holds the Grant County Varsity basketball record for most rebounds in one game at 38. And until recently, he held the school discus record with a toss of 129' ". For his accomplishments on the hardwood, Rodger Bingham was inducted into the Grant County Basketball Hall of Fame in the early 90s. He and his daughter, Angela, are the only father/daughter combination in the Hall of Fame.

Rodger met his real match outside of athletics, though, when he began dating Patricia L. Spillman during the summer following his junior year. The high school sweethearts became Mr. and Miss Grant County their senior year.

Following graduation from high school in 1965, Rodger Bingham decided to enroll at Eastern Kentucky University to pursue a degree in Industrial Arts. To make ends meet during college, Rodger would hitchhike home on several weekends to work at a local gas station and raise tobacco on his father's farm. In the fall of his junior year, Rodger and Pat decided to get married. Rodger quotes that day as "one that will live in infamy." Pat worked at the EKU bookstore during the week to help support the two of them, and both would return to Grant County on the weekends so Rodger could continue his work at the gas station and on the farm. When Rodger Bingham completed his degree in December1969, he began a new position as CEO of the Bank of Crittenden, a position held by his father, who'd passed away the previous month. On August 31, 1971, Rodger and Pat gave birth to their only child, Angela. She has been pegged as his greatest accomplishment. She was and still is her parents' pride and joy.

After a lengthy career in banking and neighborhood development, Rodger was offered a position in 1987 to teach Industrial Arts at Grant County High School. He has been a teacher ever since. He also continued developing neighborhoods, and is responsible for one of the nicest subdivisions in Grant County, Winn Lynn Acres.

From birth, Rodger Bingham has been a member of Crittenden Christian Church. Ministers and members have come and gone, but Rodger has always been a dedicated leader in the church. He's held the position of Deacon, Sunday School teacher and Superintendent, Chairman of the Board, and Elder. Rodger Bingham is an integral part of Crittenden Christian Church who has earned much respect and adoration by his fellow church family members.

When the hit TV show Survivor first aired in the spring of 2000, Rodger Bingham immediately shared his interest in being a contestant if another show were created. Much to Rodger's delight, Australia was chosen as the sight for the next show. With the assistance of his daughter and son-in-law, Rodger prepared a three-minute video detailing why he should be chosen as the next Survivor. His daughter, Angela, also submitted a video but was not chosen.

In mid-August 2000, Rodger was contacted by CBS and instructed to come to Pittsburgh to interview for the Survivor show. There were almost 49,000 applicants, and CBS had narrowed the field down to 800. Rodger interviewed in Pittsburgh for an hour and a half, and felt very confident once the interview was over. Rodger returned home from Pittsburgh and anxiously awaited another phone call from CBS.

He received his phone call from CBS in early September of 2000, and flew to Santa Monica, CA, along with 50 other hopeful contestants. After two weeks of grueling interviews, Mark Burnett, the executive producer of Survivor, entered Rodger Bingham's hotel room and shared with him that he'd been chosen as one of the sixteen contestants for Survivor II, The Australian Outback.

Rodger was able to survive 36 of the 42 days on Survivor, and was in the final five contestants before being voted off. Since the show has aired Rodger has been traveling making many personal appearances.

To this day, Rodger Bingham still has a hard time believing that the rest of the nation was watching him on Thursday evenings and seeing him on television. But his background has him perfectly suited for such an adventure. He had the support of his family, his town, and the entire state of Kentucky.

In January of 2004, Rodger accepted a position as Deputy Executive Director of Agriculture Marketing & Product Promotion with the new Kentucky Commission of Agriculture, Richie Farmer. He will begin traveling extensively all over the State of Kentucky speaking to different groups and to many school children. Rodger Bingham's goal is to educate children in farm safety, use of tobacco products and proper nutrition.

And by the way, a country boy can survive.