‘The Challenge: All Stars’: Averey Tressler and Ryan Kehoe Reveal What Fans Didn’t See From This Season

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The cutthroat elimination the challengers had been fearing for weeks finally happened on Wednesday’s newest episode of The Challenge: All Stars Season 4. While the six star holders — Ace Amerson, Cara Maria Sorbello, Leroy Garrett, Nicole Zanatta, Steve Meinke, and Veronica Portillo — got to literally sit back and relax in an RV with booze and games, the rest had to compete in a mini-final for T.J. Lavin‘s last two available stars or else be eliminated.

In the first heat of the day’s challenge, “Star Born,” the six remaining contestants vying for one of those two stars were Adam Larson, Averey Tressler, Derek Chavez, Laurel Stucky, and Ryan Kehoe (while Flora Alekseyeva, who was injured, decided not to continue). Only one male and one female could win this heat, which saw the contestants racing through the forest to a giant tree with a raft hanging on it, untying that, then paddling to a star in the middle of the lake, securing a key from that, and then racing to a troth to dig a star out of the goo. In the end, it was Derek and Laurel who managed to beat the competition, sending Adam, Averey, and Ryan home just inches from the final.

TV Insider caught up with Averey Tressler and Ryan Kehoe to talk about their many experiences this season, including their personal wins and what they wish they’d done differently in the competition aspect of the game.

First of all, Averey, what made you decide to come back for All Stars 4? It had been almost a decade for you? 

Averey Tressler: To be honest, it was up in the air for me if I wanted to come back or not. And one of the biggest factors that I had in my life was my sister. She basically told me to go for it, and I was really hesitant. I used to have a really great time, and I just had moved past it. I was ready to start my own life. Basically I was to the point where I put it MTV far behind me. I put The Challenge far out of my mind. And so when the opportunity came, she basically told me, “Go. Why not go? I have everything here.” We used to live together. She’s like, “Oh, I’ll handle all everything out, just go.” So she was honestly my biggest push. And I was just in a really good point in my life, and yeah, I said, “Why not?” And here we are.

And you’ve mentioned her a lot throughout the season and the rest of your family. How did they feel about your performance overall — seeing you do all of that?

Averey: They’re proud of me. I think that there is one thing that my sister and my brother were like, “Why didn’t you go in?” When I had the opportunity to go in. But once I explained to them why I didn’t go in there, they kind of understood it more. I think that’s one thing that’s so interesting about the show is the editing and the things that they don’t show in the house versus what they do show on television. So, other than that, I think that they’re really, really proud of me so far. They haven’t called me and been like, “Averey, what the hell?” But quite the opposite. Like, “Oh, Aves, that was so sweet of you.” And I’m like, what did I do? Because more often than not, I don’t watch the episode right on time. I’m pretty terrible at it. So usually they’ll kind of tell me how I did.

Ryan, this season, you talked about your journey to sobriety. It was a really touching moment. Can you talk about what it meant to you to open up about that and how your experience in the house differed this time going through that journey?

 Ryan Kehoe: Sure. Well, I was an alternate for All Stars 1. So that was like dipping my toes into the waters ’cause I did travel because it was the peak of COVID, and then I did All Stars 2, gone pretty early. I was definitely battling — alcohol, at that point — and I just kind of kept it under wraps, but I wasn’t really making production privy to the fact that I was getting like the shakes because they weren’t giving us alcohol the way that they did back in the day.

So coming on All Stars 4 was like doing my first Challenge, to be honest with you, because I relied on that for so many seasons — to get the party going, to keep the vibe going. I was the guy in the hot tub making out with everyone, you know, last man standing. So I think it was important for me to come back not only to compete and see what I’m capable of sober, but to show people that are struggling like, dude, your life’s not over. I think there’s an identity crisis when you stop drinking or whatever your poison is because you rely on that. And I just wanted to show people that you can still have fun and generate that vibe. It’s all here, but it took work and I was only eight months at the time. So it’s not like I had years under my belt. But having people like Averey, meeting her for the first time — now, she’s one of my closest friends — everyone was so evolved and on board with supporting me the best way, and it really was, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Speaking of you guys’ friendship, obviously, you guys recently shared some social media snaps with Adam. Can you talk about how you guys became friends outside of the competition and where you all stand now?

Ryan: We’re like total dorks for each other. We fell in love immediately. I mean, how could you not fall in love with this beautiful person? But I met her at the airport, and she was already buddies with Derek for a decade, and he kept saying, “Oh my God, you’re gonna love Averey.” But we had not crossed paths, and I’m a little older than her. So I didn’t see her notorious Nia [Moore] fight on Real World. I had stopped watching the show. So she’s like a newer generation to me — still an all star! And so I met her at the airport and if you feel like sharing your airplane story, you can…

Averey: Yeah, I was super sick the whole time. But he was just like right next to me, we were like … I think it was just meant to happen. We were all in like a little row together; It was myself, Ryan, and Derek, and we just got in a beautiful row, and then basically it was just love at first love at first puke on the plane. But he always just kind of looked out for me like during the whole show, and like there was just something about Ryan’s energy that really made me feel safe. He made me feel like — coming back into this game, I didn’t really know anybody but Derek — I’ve known of people but that was again years ago. Derek’s the only person. So when I met Ryan, there was just a sense of safe. Like I knew I can breathe here. This is a safe zone. I don’t have to have my guard up all the time. If I’m feeling vulnerable, I can totally open up to this guy. And I don’t know, there was just something about Ryan that I just trusted immediately — I just kind of connected with. And then it’s kind of been like that way ever since. Like, I just tried to call him. All the time. We hang out outside of the show.

Ryan: I think when I met Averey, I was like, “This girl can’t be sweet. She’s too pretty to be this nice.” You know when you meet someone stunning and you’re like, “Oh, wow, you’re like a good girl that loves their family that’s nice to people?!” So she proved me wrong because when I saw her at the airport I’m like, “Oh my God, she’s so hot. I don’t know if I can talk to her.” She was a big light to me through my injury. We were always on the same page, and even if we didn’t play the game the same way, and we didn’t necessarily have the same alliances at all time, we knew we had each other’s back. We weren’t gonna say each other’s name.

So speaking of Derek, he really impressed a lot of people with his performance, making it so, so far and kind of carrying the day on any kind of running challenge. Did you guys know he had that in him?

Averey: Oh, yeah, 100 percent.

Ryan: Oh, yeah. He is like the king of signing up for tough mudders, anything competition, athletic, triathlons…

Averey: He just runs. He’s just a little gazelle. He just loves to run. He’s running all the time. Even, I bet he ran today to be honest, knowing him, he probably did. That or worked out — he loves to run. So it’s not any surprise to us. But it is kind of funny to see how other competitors in the house view him as like, “Oh, he’s just a nice [person] — kind of like all three of us, right?

Ryan: Underestimated.

Averey: They kind of sleep on all three of us. They’re just like, “Oh these people are just sweet and nice and lovely.” And we’re like, “Yeah we’re still sweet and lovely, but also we’ve all got a little edge to us.”

Like ocelots!

Ryan: We are ocelots.

Averey: [Ryan] when you said that I loved it. It made me giggle as I watched it.

Ryan: Did you have to Google an ocelot?

Averey: No, I know what they are … They’re cute and little but also very ferocious.

Ryan: Yeah, don’t f*** with ocelots, excuse my language.

Averey: They will claw your eyes out.

L-R: Avery Tressler and Ryan Kehoe in The Challenge: All Stars, episode 8, season 4 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

So Avery, digging into the season a little bit. How did you feel when Kam [Williams] chose you to be the one to win that day when she wanted to get tossed in? How did you perceive that?

Averey: See that’s a complicated thing. What they didn’t show is it was set up by obviously the first group, but we weren’t told. I wasn’t told, Ryan wasn’t told. A lot of these people that we assumed were kind of working together with us enough to, I don’t know, tell me that what the plan was if it includes me?! And there was like a lot going on, too. I had gotten told by Kam at the moment, when we were going down, she was like, “Averey, if you lose, I’m gonna go in against you. 100%. So you better not lose.”

Ryan: There were scare tactics left and right. Out of nowhere.

Averey: Yeah, definitely. Totally scare tactics. It was just really weird because the whole game, I kind of had this thing, this unspoken bond with Leroy because of Rivals. We never really got to compete. So I was kind of trying to keep him safe a little bit. But when she said that it kind of threw me off, and then it kind of scared me. And then at the time, too, it doesn’t show Cara, Steve, and Ace and I were kind of a little bit starting to work together.

And at this time, I had saw Cara, Ace, and Steve kind of talk to each other. And they had mentioned briefly on the show, saying like, “Hey, I think Steve and Ace are trying to get my balls out for Cara.” So I was by myself. I had Ryan right behind me — Ryan did you hear that? With the Kam comment and the Cara thing?

I was just like, that’s a little too much for me. So when I won, it wasn’t too happy. I felt like, really, like, I don’t know… It wasn’t a real win.

Ryan: They basically made it so that you won and you didn’t really have a say in the matter unless you wanted to jump into the elimination, which wasn’t going to be the case. So they basically wanted to take away your vote in that particular challenge.

Averey: But, I mean, looking back, though, a win is a win and I’m, I was safe.  So if they’re gonna hand it to me, then I’ll take it at the end of the day. But also, I just didn’t like not being told. If you just would have involved me, I would have been like, “Oh okay, great. I have nothing to worry about.”

Ryan: And honestly, if you ended up in the middle group on this season, you felt like you won because you were controlling the game. If you won, you didn’t have a vote, and unless you were jumping in, which wasn’t gonna happen ’til later in the game, it was basically like the middle people were like, “Oh my God, we won!” But it’s like, “Well, you actually didn’t.”  But if you were in the middle group, you had power.

I interviewed Jay [Mitchell] last week, and he kind of criticized you Ryan a little bit for not taking your opportunity to get in against him. So I’m just curious, looking back and especially seeing how bad he was at that particular elimination, do you have any regrets that you didn’t just jump in and get your star that night?

Ryan: I do have a regret. Had I known it was gonna be a water thing — ’cause I am a water baby. But what you didn’t see is that I broke my shoulder on day five on the water slide.So I didn’t know it was, I refused to get an X-ray, but I have a giant bruise the entire season, and I’m thinking this is gonna be the last male elimination. It’s gonna be like hardcore wrestling in the sand. I knew that it was either fractured or broken, and I was like, Jay was that much better than me the entire season, and he’s a firefighter, and I just didn’t wanna injure myself fully. So when I saw the tanks, I felt fraudulent for not jumping in, to be honest with you. I definitely think I would have thrived in that elimination.

So, what was the biggest hang-up in the challenge that got you eliminated? Was it your shoulder? Why did you guys struggle with that one?

Ryan: Oh yeah. Well, for sure. Everything that I did, I was working with like basically a floating clavicle. So untying the rope in the mini final … was tedious just cause pulling, I couldn’t really use this arm at full strength. And then paddling in the middle of the lake, it was like, I only had one good arm to paddle with. I mean, Averey and I are just not — I should have probably practiced more in Central Park. Oh my God, we were struggle bus with that.

Averey: I mean, yeah, we have excuses. I lived in the desert. Where am I going to have time to paddle in the desert? Where am I gonna go in Arizona?

Ryan: Because she was living in Arizona up until January.

Ryan Kehoe in The Challenge: All Stars, episode 9, season 4 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Averey, you mostly partnered with Adam, but Ryan, you had multiple partners throughout the season. How did you choose who your partners were, and what was your best and worst experience with partnerships this season? 

Ryan: Oh, wow. You know, Kam and I worked well together even though we were playing a completely different game. And perhaps that’s why we paired up together because it kind of neutralized the playing field. But th one time that we did the Domino’s challenge, we did really well. I also had a broken shoulder, and they didn’t show it, but she’s yelling at me… Clearly, I have a giant bruise and you can see my bone popping up and she’s like yelling at me cause I kept dropping the domino but we just made it into the middle group barely. And then the untying on the monster truck. That was probably the funnest challenge. Honestly, we won that one, and that was super fun. We worked together really well. Me and Laurel do work well together — or we did a year ago. I would say my worst partnership … Well, I never partnered up with Flora for a reason.

Yeah, I was just about to ask you about Flora. Averey, you said you respected her for her decision to walk away in that mini final because she wasn’t feeling well. But she never really ever went for a star — at least from what I saw — never even tried. Did you respect that, too? 

Averey: I mean, I think tha everybody knows that Flora was just an easy person to maybe have at the end, but no one really expected her — She didn’t even expect herself to go that far. So I think when she kind of tapped out, she just was like, “I won already. I proved to myself. I’ve done this.” She’s proved to the fans, she’s proved to her daughter… They don’t show this in the trivia thing, but she really messed up her leg — poor, poor girl. Like her leg was torn up like it was painful for her to walk, sit down. They don’t show this either: The day of the mini, she got bumped in the head with a water bottle.

Ryan: A frozen water bottle that was at the top of the bus.

Averey: I think she was like, “Kick a girl while she’s already down!”  It was pretty sad. She had a giant welt on the top of her forehead. She was crying out of pain and frustration, and that was a huge reason as to why she was like, “Why am I partaking? The universe is telling me, ‘Maybe know your role and just take a backseat.’” But she didn’t quit. Besides that, until that point like where her body was, where she fell. But even the whole time up until this, she didn’t quit. She tried her best. I respect that for like three or four challenges, [she was] full on limping from her trivia injury.

So you two made it through pretty much every challenge other than the final. What was your favorite challenge of this season?

Ryan: The monster truck dangling with our [bodies off]. I could have driven around like [that forever]. I almost forgot that I had pain in my shoulder because we were hanging from our waist. I could like Spiderman all day, every day on a rope.  I don’t know, I’ve always dreamed of doing [that]. I’ve seen the monster truck things, but I’ve never done one up until then, so I could do that forever. That was awesome.

Averey: Yeah, that was cool. I felt like a stunt person. I felt like a secret agent, just like, “Jump in!” I could have done that forever. Especially, too, like, yeah you’re bonking into everybody, you’re hitting everybody, but it’s fun! … You really feel like you really have a sense of accomplishment, and it’s just fun having the wind in your hair and the dirt in your eyes and your mouth. We were filthy.

Ryan: I love getting dirty. Any challenge that I leave disgusting, dirty, I’m all about it.

Avery Tressler in The Challenge: All Stars, episode 9, season 4 streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo credit: Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

Jonne Roriz/Paramount+

If and when you come back to The Challenge for another season, how might your strategy differ? 

Averey: I would say, I hope that if I do come back, I hope that I would have a little bit more alliances. I think that’s what I’m struggling in this game. A lot of these contenders have long-time friendships or a long time people that they’ve known for years where I’m just coming back. So hopefully now, if Ryan comes back, if I come back, I know I can rely on Ryan. There’s certain people from 4 now that I know I can work with, I know how they work with each other, and I know their competitive edge or what they bring to the table that maybe some people don’t know. So I’m excited to see we’ll see where we go.

Ryan: I think that I would be more of a leader and less of a follower. There was some bad behavior, some bullying happening. I mean, I know that word is really [tricky], but Laurel was definitely pretty nasty to Cara, and even though I was nice to Cara, I wish I was more of an advocate. Maybe use my voice — even if I was friends with Laurel at the time — because that kind of behavior is never okay on a Challenge, and it was definitely a mob mentality. So I would be the interruption for a mob mentality in future Challenges.

The Challenge: All Stars, Wednesdays, Paramount+

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