Mike Parker: The Ninjas are coming to Greene Central

Mike Parker: The Ninjas are coming to Greene Central

This story originally published on May 6, 2019.

Do you have what it takes to be a Ninja Warrior?

Do you enjoy watching these trained athletes navigate obstacle courses designed to test strength, stamina and determination?

Then the place for you to be on Friday, May 17, is Greene Central High School for the second Greene County Ninja Warrior competition. This event, sponsored by New Direction Church, offers free admission. The course will be open to the public from 5-7 p.m. Actual Ninja Warrior competition kicks off at 7.

Daniel Gil

Hunter Rowland

Devin Harrelson

Devin Harrelson

One of the featured special guests is Kingdom Ninja Daniel Gil. Gil, a worship leader and singer, as well as a trainer at Sam Sann’s Iron Sports gym, first competed in American Ninja Warrior 7. He missed the sixth edition of the show because his May 13 birthday occurred after qualifiers, so he did not meet the age requirement. Since his first competition, he has tested his skills in American Ninja 8, 9 and 10. He is known for his blazing speed on the course.

Another special guest featured at the Greene County event is Raleigh’s own Hunter Rowland, who styles herself as “The Positive Ninja.” Rowland first watched the NBC reality competition show “American Ninja Warrior” when she was only 6 or 7 years old. Though too young to compete, she was old enough to know she wanted to take her gymnastics, tumbling and martial arts skills to the next level.

Her parents, Pete and Hannah Rowland, built an obstacle course for her in their backyard. Hunter dedicated herself to hours of practice to hone her skills.

Her determination paid off. On Oct. 13, 2018, Hunter, then 10, was selected to compete in the premiere of “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” a spinoff of NBC’s “American Ninja.”

Another well-known American Ninja competitor scheduled for the Greene County competition is Devin “Dougie Fresh” Harrelson. Harrelson is a tattoo artist from Fuquay-Varina who styles himself as the Ink Slinging Ninja. He has competed in American Ninja 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Each of these guest competitors will be available for photographs and autographs.

“One of the main things we are trying to accomplish is to give families a fun-filled, inspiring and family friendly night out,” John Holloman, operations pastor of New Directions Church, said.

The church currently meets at Greene Central facilities at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. The church staff also does small group meetings throughout the week at the homes of church members.

“We chose Ninja competition because it attracts all ages. Many students come to watch their teachers compete. Police officers and firefighters will also compete,” he added.

The competition usually lasts between an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Two slots are reserved for competitors who earn a spot the day of the competition. As an added bonus, the school of the winning teacher will receive a $500 donation, as will the department of the winning firefighter or police officer.

Inflatable obstacles will be set up for kids under nine so they can safely test their Ninja skills. Hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks will be available for a small charge.

Holloman has a personal connection to the American Ninja community. In 2015, Holloman participated in the American Ninja competition in Orlando, Florida. In November 2018, Holloman joined with Devin Harrelson, Kenny Niemitalo, and Mike Cook for an “American Ninja Warrior” competition at the Whirligig Warrior Course at Whirligig Park near Wilson.

Gil, the Kingdom Ninja, will be staying through the weekend and is slated to speak at the 10:30 a.m. service at New Directions Church on Sunday, May 19, at Greene Central.

Make plans to use your Ninja skills to watch this exciting competition.

Mike Parker is a columnist for Neuse News. You can reach him at mparker16@gmail.com

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