Bronsen Iverson, Ryan Stewart on Family and Poaching
6 mins read

Bronsen Iverson, Ryan Stewart on Family and Poaching

The latest episode Race for Survival: New Zealand delivered a shocking double elimination of the competition favorites. While one of those teams was kicked out of the competition for breaking a rule, Hunters, Bronsen Iverson AND Ryan Stewart withdrew from the race with dignity as an injury put their position in the race to the test.

Of course, no one wants to give up a chance at winning $500,000, so leaving New Zealand was no easy decision. Now that the dust has settled, the in-laws spoke to Reality Tea about their disappointing trip, and also gave a hunter’s perspective on the rule violation that caused their competitors to bow out.

Ryan’s knee update

Bronsen Iverson, Ryan Stewart on Family and Poaching
Photo credit: Daniel Allen/USA Network

Last time we saw Ryan his knee was very swollen. He crashed in race 2 and came through. In race 4 the pain started to get to him and became unbearable. Thankfully he is feeling much better but he definitely tore his LCL in New Zealand.

When he got home, the pain was pretty intense. He said he couldn’t climb a ladder or even press the gas pedal without it hurting. Ryan works year-round as a hunting guide, landscaper, snowplow, and holiday lighting decorator, so apparently, that kind of pain just isn’t sustainable.

“I went through physical therapy, and the doctor kept suggesting surgery,” Ryan recalled. “I knew he would be stronger.”

Ryan was right. The knee has gotten stronger, and he expects to be back to 100% in the next few months. He’s now at about 90%. In the meantime, he’s taking it easy and hasn’t done any extreme hikes. He hasn’t ruled out returning to the Race to Survive, though. He and Bronsen said they’d do it again in a heartbeat, just with a little less weight on their packs.

Keeping Cool in the Race for Survival: New Zealand

Bronsen Iverson with helmet light in cave on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

Throughout the race, the Hunters kept a steady face—especially Bronsen. Send them to the cave? Bronsen smiles. Throw them into the rocky river? Still smiling. That’s his personality, and that deliberation helped the Hunters win the first three racers.

As Ryan’s injuries began to catch up with them, Bronsen’s common sense helped them both see the bigger picture. Ryan said he wanted to keep pushing, but Bronsen helped him remember he had a physical job and a family that depended on him.

Bronsen explained: “He’s been tearing through all the other racetracks this whole time. He’s a strong guy, but when it came down to it, I thought, ‘Man, this is bad.'”

“I didn’t want to push him to the point where he couldn’t use his leg or was out for six weeks,” Bronsen continued. “He’s got a family at home. He’s got to provide for himself. We can’t have him sitting on the couch for six weeks.”

Now that the show is airing, the in-laws are enjoying watching the action with their families. Ryan and Bronsen kept journals throughout Race to Survive, so they’re enjoying reliving the adventure with their families. The fact that they can do it all in one piece makes it even better.

The Big Broken Rule

Ryan and Bronsen head down the hill on Race to Survive: New Zealand
Photo credit: Brian Finestone/USA Network

Of course, Ryan and Bronsen weren’t the only team eliminated in Episode 8. We also saw the River Guides get kicked off the show after Corry broke a rule by eating a bird on the banned list. After watching the other contestants kill sheep, hedgehogs and eels, why is it such a big deal for them to eat that random bird when they’re literally starving to death? Ryan explained that it all comes down to the poaching rules and the pressure of such high stakes in the competition.

“As a hunting guide, I have to follow a lot of regulations, especially those related to poaching,” Ryan explained.

He compared the situation with River Guides to the elk hunts he runs in Utah. If he took someone on a trip and someone shot an animal that wasn’t allowed to be released, Ryan explained he would be legally required to report it. Even if it’s just a small bird, the rules are the rules. Otherwise, his livelihood could be at risk.

“So if the feds came down and I found out about this, they would take away my guide license that I worked so hard to earn and they would charge me the same amount they would charge him,” Ryan added.

With that in mind, Ryan acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations against the River Guides. He believed their disqualification was fair, as they had all been given clear instructions not to hunt birds. However, he did not rule out the theory that another competitor had reported the River Guides in order to get ahead of them in the competition.

“It sucks because they did it and they knew it,” Ryan added. “And you do it in front of a bunch of people (competing) for $500,000. It’s a pretty big surprise because someone there will probably say something if they feel they have to.”

Race to Survive: New Zealand continues on USA Network on Monday nights at 11pm/10c.