As the story unfolds,
start here.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month.

Ardmore teen to appear on American Ninja Warrior Junior tomorrow

Michael Smith
USA TODAY
Addison Mason will make her debut on American Ninja Warrior Junior on Friday at 5 p.m. on Universal Kids.

One of Ardmore’s youngest ninjas will be featured Friday on a television franchise that has already seen plenty of locally trained competitors. Addison Mason will be a contestant on American Ninja Warrior Junior, a show now in its second season on Universal Kids.

Mason and her family traveled to Los Angeles last July to tape the episode, which will air at 5 p.m. on Friday. She talked about her family enjoying Los Angeles sights but could not give details about the show. Furthermore, she still has not seen the episode.

“I’m a little nervous because I’m watching myself,” Mason said by phone on Wednesday.

American Ninja Warrior Junior premiered in 2018 as a spinoff of the popular American Ninja Warrior, a show that puts competitors from around the country on an obstacle course that tests an athlete’s agility, endurance, and strength.

Unlike its predecessors, American Ninja Warrior Junior features competitors between 9 and 14 years old who compete one-on-one in three age groups. On Friday’s episode, with 12 total competitors, Mason will compete against three others in the 13-14 age category.

Mason said some events, like the Skyhooks, came naturally to her. She also credits dance training with improving her balance. But not everything was easy, especially staying in the right frame of mind during training.

“You just can’t be scared to try new things,” she said.

She has been training to compete on the legendary obstacle course since she was 8 years old thanks to her parents, Shawn and Ashley Mason. The family owns Gauntlet Fitness in Ardmore, where ninjas train and compete locally.

The gym has turned out multiple area competitors that went on to American Ninja Warrior, and Addison Mason is not the first family member to compete. Shawn Mason is a past competitor on American Ninja Warrior and now trains other local athletes for local, national and international competitions.

Like the American Ninja Warrior franchise, the local and regional competitions are inspired by the long-running Japanese television series, Sasuke. Many of the challenges presented on American Ninja Warrior Junior courses stem from similar challenges from the Japanese program.

Ashley Mason said watching her daughter train and compete has been inspiring to her family and friends. Her other children, Liam and Ava, also compete in local competitions and she said the local training community has been a positive influence on her entire family.

“Everybody is cheering each other on, you go and cheer your competitor on even though you know that they’re your competitor,” said Ashley Mason.

Addison Mason indicated that her Friday appearance as an American Ninja Warrior competitor likely won’t be her last. She said she is already training for the next opportunity to audition.

“I’m glad that I made it there, had good enough skills and mindset and strength and personality to get there,” said Addison Mason.

The episode of American Ninja Warrior will air on Friday at 5 p.m. on Universal Kids.