ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For American Ninja Warrior competitors, the dream is to compete in the finals on the Las Vegas strip.
But to get there, a group of local athletes put in the hard work at the NinjaForce obstacle gym in northeast Albuquerque. That is where six out of eight New Mexicans trained for the show’s current season.
“It starts to put New Mexico on the map more,” said competitor Ramya Stevens.
16-year-old Katie Bone, who advanced to the show’s next round, reflected on her run that aired June 27.
“It was insane, being able to execute the way that I had wanted to was amazing, and the amount of support that I have received this week has been incredible,” Bone said.
It goes without saying, becoming a ninja is no small feat.
“If you’re not really focused, you’re probably going to slip, and you’re going to fall, and nobody wants to do that,” said competitor Paul Joye.
Adding to the challenge, most of the New Mexican competitors we spoke with do not train for ANW full time. For example, Joye is the chief of police for the City of Santa Fe, Steven Cen is a resident physician and Megan Jarmosevich is a flight nurse for UNM.
But when they are at the obstacle gym, they put all of that to the side.
“I think what’s most important about being a ninja, at least for me personally, is not only getting over the obstacles in the gym, but it helps you get over obstacles in your life,” Stevens said.
When they are training, they are not competitors, they are a support system.
“Being here like every week is what is like to be a ninja to be a part of the gym and a part of the ninja community in the family,” Jarmosevich said.
“The community is amazing, because these are some of my like, closest friends and a lot of my family here,” Bone added.
They push each other to do what many would think is impossible, but according to Cen, all of their success depends on the effort they put into their training and a lot of support at home.
“For people out there who are applying — and they may not get a call back immediately—don’t give up, keep training, pour into your community, keep growing it, grow the community, grow yourself, and then you know, maybe one day you’ll get a shot on the show, and it’s super fun.”
Cen’s run on American Ninja Warrior airs Monday, July 11 on KOB 4.
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