The first of the younger contestants to go home says he should have been on the older team
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Shannon Elkins, 30, still thinks honesty is the best policy despite the fact that his big mouth made him the first casualty of Survivor: Nicaragua‘s younger team. The pest control businessman from Lafayette, La., spoke with PEOPLE about why he doesn’t deserve to be the target of gays or feminists, why he wished he’d qualified for the older tribe and who he says is the biggest threat in Nicaragua. – Carrie Bell

Conventional wisdom would lead any strong, fit, young man (and fans) to believe he was safe for the first few votes.
It’s not about that anymore. Russell [Hantz] changed the game. It’s now about making the biggest strategic moves and smart alliances.

What about going off like a loose cannon?
People think I dug my own grave but I knew I was going home. Anyone who has ever played Survivor will tell you that when one person can’t look you in the face, it’s you. It didn’t matter what I said . . . I tried to take down the two idiots with me.

Do you mean Chase and Sash?
Chase admitted he was playing both sides. He was playing The Bachelor out there with his aspiring country music singer sob story and waiting for Brenda to bring him a freaking rose. Chase did not change the vote out on the island, where I could have defended myself and tried to change the vote to NaOnka. He did it on the way to tribal when we weren’t supposed to be talking.

Your arguments against Sash and his sexuality seemed based on personal disapproval.
Did I stereotype Sash? Yes. That was wrong and I’m sorry. But you saw less than 40 percent of that tribal. There’s an edit. I didn’t straight up ask that dude if he was gay. I didn’t need to ask his preference. He showed it while he was out there.

But why even bring it up unless you thought it’d turn people against him?
The guy kept coming after me, calling me a liar. I said, “I lied to you because you lied to me.” He said, “When?” And I said, “When you told me you weren’t gay.” . . . I was simply trying to show people you can’t trust him because he wasn’t being honest about who he was. Why would you want to be in an alliance with, a liar and not me who shoots straight?

No pun intended?
I could give two craps what Sash does in his spare time. I’m not a homophobe. I didn’t bash gays. I bashed Sash as a person. I’m also not a damn sexist. I’m married to a woman and I’m voting for Sarah Palin in 2012. And I think a woman, Brenda, is the biggest threat. She’s athletic, sneaky and got Chase to fall in love day one.

So should she win?
No. Kelly B. [should win]. If I’d gone to the final three with her, I’d have said, “Give her the money. I want to vote for her.” There’s not enough money in the world to make up for all the crap she’s gone through in life with one leg.

Do you really wish you’d been on the older tribe?I’ve been married since 19 and had to grow up real fast. I don’t hang out with kids. I make kids. I was making babies when some of these kids were in fifth grade . . . The age thing screwed me. A guy like me is intimidating to younger people, but next to a grown-up like Jimmy Johnson, I wouldn’t be.