Two weeks ago Jacksonville residents who were watching NBC’s popular ‘American Ninja Warrior’ heard a familiar name when Jimmy Bogle from Gadsden was announced as one of the competitors at the Dallas qualifying stage. Bogle was one of 30 who made it to the Dallas finals.
Jim Bogle, Jimmy’s father, used to teach P.E. at Kitty Stone Elementary school. Jimmy Bogle Jr. was born in Jacksonville at that time. The senior Bogle moved his family to the Gadsden area where he and his wife Tonya have had great success teaching and coaching at Gaston High School.
Jimmy Jr., at 27 is the oldest of the 10 Bogle children. A golf and basketball star while at Gaston, Bogle used to watch Sasuke, on the G4 television network. American Ninja Warrior became a spinoff of Sasuke in 2009 and is a top show on NBC.
American Ninja Warrior tests the top athletes in the country in their speed, strength and versatility. Each of the athletes tries to qualify for the finals in their region and then the chance to compete at Mt. Midoriyama in Las Vegas.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Bogle of being on the American Ninja Warrior. “I used to watch Sasuke all the time on TV and was really excited when it came to America. Coming from an athletic family I thought that I could do it. My training partner, Justin Bujan, and I were watching Ninja Warrior last year and he said, “I think we can do this,” so we started training. He didn’t get in but was a tester on the equipment at Dallas so he got to run the course.”
After sending in a submission video, Bogle was given a call back for the qualifier in Dallas. There were 125 qualifiers. Not all of the qualifiers were given a call back, some simply showed up, as much as a week early, and camped out in line waiting for a chance to be a walk on.
For Bogle, the chance to be on American Ninja Warriors was a dream come true. At 6 foot, 170 pounds Bogle is a picture of fitness, with a chiseled no fat, only muscle body.
Bogle has been training for about two years for the show, working out 5-6 days a week either in a gym running on trails or running obstacles courses like The Barbarian challenge in Gadsden or Tough Mudder in Atlanta.
It’s not like Bogle has a lot of time on his hands to just train. He currently is finishing up school, plans on attending Wallace State to get a degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant, and also works at UPS as a package handler and Red Lobster as a server. He also plans on getting married next fall.
With no obstacle courses like the ones he has to perform on in American Ninja Warrior in the area, Bogle has to travel to either Atlanta or Nashville to train on a course.
Each Regional course is a bit different. The course in Dallas consisted of the Quintuple Steps, platforms angled at 45 degrees, then on to the Log Grip, where competitors wrap their bodies around a log and then hold on as it takes a hard drop to the next platform.
Then it’s on to the tilting table where the contestant has to run across a tilting platform that spins. From there its swinging to the cargo net, climbing down and then over to the Ring Toss where the contestant uses two rings to work themselves across different inclines, a task requiring extreme upper body strength when the body is already tired from the other obstacles.
After the rings it’s on to the last obstacle, running up a 15 foot warped wall, climbing over the top to ring the bell.
At any point if a contestant falls off any obstacles, usually into water, they are disqualified. Many, after training sometimes for years, fall off early in the competition.
Bogle, who was cheered on in the competition at Dallas by his fiancé Joella Bujan and his mother, said it was,” Just the coolest moment.
“My number wasn’t called until 5:30 a.m. My adrenalin had kept me going through the night. I wasn’t very nervous until they said go and then I got really nervous. Once I got on the Quintuple Steps I just zoned out. I remember very little from it.
“When I was on the rings I do remember someone yelling out, ‘If anyone can do it you can,’ and I thought, who was that?
“Ring crossing over to the last one I realized that I was at the end and just had the warp wall. I had done that a hundred times and wasn’t worried about it.
“The toughest thing was the tilting table, as you run across it spins really fast. Its something you can’t train for.
“Being at the top was the coolest moment of my life. I don’t care about it being o n TV. I just love the challenge. When I hit that buzzer at the top of the wall it was something I’ve dreamed about. It was unreal. I had a hard time going to sleep that night.”
Bogle was one of 30 that advanced to the final round at Dallas that will be aired later this season.
Bogle said that win or lose he will be back again next season. “I love anything that is a challenge,” said Bogle. “As long as they’ll let me I’ll come back and do it. It’s so much fun.”
Each contestant is hopeful of making it to the finals in Las Vegas and the ultimate course, Mt. Midoriyama. No American has ever conquered the daunting course.