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Hundreds of Montanans lined up in Great Falls, Helena and Bozeman this weekend to audition for spots on the CBS TV reality show "Survivor."

They're bucking long odds: Similar auditions were being held all across the country.

Each got a couple of minutes before the TV cameras to impress the show's producers. Many couldn't come up with that much to say.

A few will get personal interviews in March, and finalists will be flown to Los Angeles in April. Sixteen will be chosen to appear on the show, which will begin taping in May. The location has not been disclosed.

Nearly 400 picked up applications for the casting call in Bozeman, and 20 or so spent the night in line.

For a chance at $1 million, contestants have to be willing to live in some exotic tropical frontier for seven weeks, eat bugs if necessary, and engage in cutthroat competition.

"They're looking for people who are assertive, aggressive and, at the same time, interesting and creative," said Tim Gazy, station manager for CBS affiliate KBZK-TV in Bozeman.

"I know I am the 'Survivor' chick from Montana," declared Kelli "Stormy" Tracy, 38, a medical billing clerk and mother of four who drove in from "beautiful Butte" to be fourth in line.

First in line was Mark "Butch" Leone of Bozeman, 47-year-old assistant director of intramural sports at Montana State University. It wasn't the $1 million that had kept him in line since 4 p.m. Friday, he said, but the chance at "the ultimate challenge."

"The kids at school call me Gramps and Old Man," he said. "In their eyes, it's working against me. In my eyes, it's going to work for me - I can prove to them I can do everything at 47 they think they can do at 18."

In Great Falls, Montana got a lot of plugs from applicants who reasoned that it's about time that a real, rugged Westerner made the show. Like Cleve Loney, 53,a saddle bronc rider.

"I've survived everything else," Loney said from under his cowboy hat. "I've done rodeo for 29 years. I've been through all of Montana's weather, and I made it through a real bad divorce."

Bobi Grensten, 25, took a slightly different tack. She stood in front of the KRTV camera and quickly listed her attributes, assuring producers of good ratings because she looks good in a bikini.

She ended her video application by blowing kisses.

Some found their short time before the cameras hard to fill. In Helena, Travis Tipton said he'd use the $1 million to start a children's foundation, but then he ran dry.

"Uh, my sister wanted me to come here today, it's her birthday," he said. "She's always had more confidence in myself than I have."

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