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It’s back to the ranch for rodeo champ Ty Murray, as he and partner Chelsie Hightower were eliminated from Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday night.

From the very beginning, it looked like Ty wasn’t going to last long with poor performances and even poorer scores. But the determined cowboy kept plugging away and gradually came to impress the judges and fans on his way to becoming a surprise fourth-place finisher.

“Both me and Chelsie felt like we had an army of people behind us, cheering us on," the unflappable Ty, who is married to platinum-selling singer Jewel, told OK! after being eliminated. "That’s your motivation to keep working at it. I’m not going to lie — I’m tired of learning dances. I’m so glad I don’t have to go learn two more for next week. I really am.”

Monday night, Ty and Chelsie received the lowest scores — 25 for their Viennese waltz; 23 for the samba — among the four remaining pairs. And it looks like the voting audience at home agreed.

So what now? “I got to go to the ranch and get some work buttoned up there," he told OK!. "I got about 500 head of cattle I need to work and as soon as we get done with that, the grass is green and mother nature will take care of them and me and Jewel will take a vacation.”

Chelsie, who is hoping to come back for next season’s DWTS with a new celebrity partner, also told OK! she’s considering a vacation. “It’s not in the works at the moment but it will be soon. I was thinking Mexico but since the whole swine flu thing… I’m thinking somewhere warm.”

Meanwhile, Ty’s exit clears the path to next week’s finale for the three remaining pairs. “This is all we’ve been working for and we made it to the last week,” crowed Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, with partner Mark Ballas by her side.

Former Bachelor star Melissa Rycroft, who dances with Tony Dovolani, said, “It feels incredible. Tony and I sit back and have to remember where we were a few weeks ago and to see where we are right now is something that couldn’t have been scripted. It would seem unrealistic and unbelievable.”

And last but certainly not least, Sex and the City actor Gilles Marini — who is featured in an exclusive photoshoot and interview in the next issue of OK! — promised, “I’m going to do my best. America will choose. I have a lot of work to do — from my footsteps to my arms to my head. I don’t even know what time it is but I give a lot of passion to what I do. Shawn, Melissa, and I are there and it’s going to be pure fun.”

By Carole Glines

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