Hobbs pursues dream of becoming next American Ninja Warrior

In addition to being the assistant track and field coach for South Plains College’s men’s and women’s track teams, Hobbs is always finding new and exciting ways to challenge himself.  His latest venture is sure to be an obstacle in itself, as he recently was accepted as a contestant on the next season of “American Ninja Warrior.”

“American Ninja Warrior” is a television show featuring contestants competing for the best time on a grueling obstacle course that challenges their bodies to the limits.  A series of regional championship rounds lead to a national competition that will be held in Las Vegas. This region’s event was filmed in Dallas on March 24 – March 26. The season will premiere May 30.

Hobbs has been preparing for this opportunity during the past four years. After two unsuccessful attempts to make the show, Hobbs approached head track coach Erik Vance for some assistance.  The two coaches collaborated with Professor Billy Alonzo to prepare a video that led to Hobbs’s selection as a contestant.

  The turnaround from application to competition is fairly quick. Hobbs applied in late November and had four months to mentally prepare for the event. Asked if he was nervous about the entire ordeal, he said “a little bit.”

“I don’t want to say no, but as a coach you understand what the demands are for having success,” said Hobbs.“So I try my best to prepare myself as much as possible.”   

The obstacle course is built to test the participant’s strength and balance.  Hobbs finds himself always looking for new and challenging ways to stay in shape for the show. When at home, he sometimes creates new tools to help train. While at track meets, he will always see if the city has a facility that can help his training for Ninja Warrior.imagejpeg_0 (1)

“I’m not nervous about one specific thing,” Hobbs said. “I’m not sure what to expect. I’m just more anxious.”

Hobbs does have a few obstacles he hopes to avoid this season, “mainly the balance or fingertip obstacles, like the Cliff Hanger.”

Some of the more iconic obstacles seem to be a lesser concern to him.

“The Warped Wall and the Salmon Ladder aren’t easy,” said Hobbs, “but I can do them more confidently now.”

With such an extreme test of endurance on the horizon, Hobbs is persistently shaping his mind and body for the competition.

“I probably train four to six days a week,” Hobbs explained. “The training takes a lot out of you, so you have to do rest and recovering.”

On his days when he is resting, he can be found “doing a lot of things that work on your mobility, a lot of stretching, and rolling out.”

“American Ninja Warrior” will be in its 10th season when Hobbs goes to compete.

“The obstacles get harder each year, because people get a lot better,” says Hobbs.

With such a grueling history and new obstacles being built, Hobbs does have a secret weapon of sorts.  One of his past athletes, Britney Hanks, has been on the show twice now.

“She has really helped me, helping with the audition tape,” said Hobbs.  “She has really been a coach for me.”

After returning from the competition, Hobbs explained “The entire experience was insane, and I loved every minute of it.  It was fast and different than anything I have ever done, but I enjoyed every second of it.”

While Hobbs’ success on the show is to be revealed when the season premieres later this spring, he had nothing but praise for his experience.

“This program is a blast,” said Hobbs. “I was completely humbled and honored to see all of the support that I received from everyone here at South Plains.  Just like South Plains, ANW is a family environment that I was happy to be a part of, even if it was just for that short time.”

As for advice for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps, Hobbs said, “Start where you are, set goals for yourself, and you’ll be surprised how far you get.”

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