By Lisa Pett
A SPASH graduate is hoping to prove he is a true American Ninja Warrior.
Hunter Sipes, a 21-year-old Stevens Point native and SPASH graduate will be featured in an upcoming episode of American Ninja Warrior on NBC on Monday, June 22. The show will air from Orlando, Fla. and begin at 7 PM EST.
Sipes was one of over a hundred people to be chosen, based on his YouTube video submission, to compete in one of the regional qualifying tournaments for the television show, which features athletes trying to complete a grueling- and somewhat humorous- obstacle course.
The show, which tests competitor’s strength and agility, is based on a television series from Japan and features a four-stage course with obstacles like the Salmon Ladder and the Warped Wall.
Over 125 regional competitors attempt to finish the timed course as quickly as possible, but only 30 of those athletes go on to regional finals.
For there, the top 15 go on to nationals and attempt to complete the main challenge-the Mount Midoryiama course.
“It is extremely taxing,” said Sipes. “There is no way to train for the [specific] course. You don’t get to train on it. You don’t even get to see it until you get there.”
Sipes, who ran track and played football at SPASH, grew up skateboarding and snowboarding. He works in Orlando with Youth with a Mission, an international youth mission group. His interest in extreme sports and international travel to Japan drew him to the show.
His training regimen is based on different types of activities like rock climbing, weight training and gymnastics. The contest requires a lot of strength, dexterity and endurance.
“The course looks easy,” said Sipes, “but the muscular endurance needed to go through it five or six times, if necessary, is unbelievable.”
His competition name is “Kingdom Ninja” and the audience can follow his progress and training on Sipes’ Twitter feed @Sipester05 and with the hashtag #KingdomNinja.
If Sipes is one of the top 15 competitors in Orlando on Monday night, he will go on to compete in Las Vegas and try to beat the Mount Midoriyama course.
So far, in six seasons, no American competitor on the U.S. show has ever completed all four stages of the Midoriyama course, which comes with it the title of “America Ninja Warrior” and a $1 million cash prize.