Dr. Murray Adams, an optometrist here in Owensboro, got a very exciting phone call on March 25 inviting him to compete in a filming for NBC’s American Ninja Warrior TV show.
To be invited on the show, contestants submit a 3-minute video audition to highlight their athletic abilities and show producers something interesting about their personal lives.
After submitting a video last year with no callback, Adams learned producers are looking for lots of energy in the audition videos. This year, he showed much more energy on screen and came up with a plan to make himself look younger – by waxing his chest.
That plan obviously worked.
“The producers seemed to like the angle that I have an optometry practice, but they also liked that I am a world record holder,” Adams said, referring the world record he helped set last summer with Bob O’Brien’s team, who did dips for three hours straight. (Read our post about that here.)
The audition video also shows Adams in his office working with patients, at home with his family, walking through Smothers Park, and training at the YMCA during his lunch hour.
Now Adams is one of 130 contestants invited to run the Indy City Qualifier in Indianapolis on April 27, which will be featured in an episode of American Ninja Warrior Season 8. The top 30 contenders from the Indianapolis qualifier will be invited back to compete the next night for the Indy City Finals, which will air as a separate episode.
The top 15 from the Indy City Finals will advance to stage 1 in Las Vegas, which will be filmed June 15-20. Other contenders will come from finals held in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and Philadelphia.
Some contestants on TV make the obstacles look easy, but Adams has learned first hand how challenging some of them can be. “Once I started training, I quickly discovered it was not easy,” he said, laughing. “It took me about 20 attempts to get up the warped wall.” To accomplish that, he trained on the warped wall at the KOR Complex, a ninja warrior and parkour training facility in St. Louis.
The individual obstacles are one thing. Completing the course is another. Being a “ninja” is both mental and physical. Says Adams, “There’s a strategy to it. You have to conserve your energy.”
The filming in Indianapolis takes place in Monument Circle downtown. For special effect, they’re filming at night so the obstacles can be lit up.
While there’s no guarantee he’ll make it on the show, Adams remains optimistic. “If they like my story, and if I do well, there’s a good chance I’ll make it on TV.”
He’s going by “John Murray” on the show, so be on the lookout for Owensboro’s vision ninja this season.
Owensboro Living will keep you updated on his progress and air dates.