Brookings Native Makes NBC Hit Show Finals

Jake Murray makes it to finals of 'American Ninja Warrior'

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It’s one of the hottest shows on NBC. American Ninja Warrior is a test of strength, endurance and stamina for competitors trying to make it through intense courses.

For one Brookings native, he has earned his spot in the finals.

Jake Murray, 28, had always been a passionate skateboarder, and continues to be to this day. He spends more time at the park and even more time rock climbing –his two passions.

Something his father saw at an early age.

“He’d practice for hours on end in that garage,” says Tony Murray, “I just heard that skateboard, just ‘snap, snap!’”

While you may not recognize him for his skateboarding, millions of Americans have invited him into their living rooms all season long.

“I remember the first obstacle that I saw,” recalls Murray, “it was one that required a great amount of grip strength to complete and I was sold.”

The show, which debuted in Japan, quickly gained steam here in the US. One day of flipping through the channels at a friend’s house, Murray knew this was something that he wanted to do.

But it wasn’t easy getting here. After one failed walk-on and barely missing the cut in year two, Murray decided on a different approach in year three.

“You go home defeated. There’s nothing you can do.”

But not before a friend posted his submission video online, watch it here.

It was a parody to the 1984 classic, ‘Footloose.’ The video gained over 200,000 views on YouTube, and was so popular that the star of the movie, Kevin Bacon, tweeted at Murray.

“As a person I’m kind of persistent, you need to be,” adds Murray, “if you’re not the most naturally talented, which I wasn’t, I really had to work for it.”

And while the mystery still exists how far he went in the competition, there has been some personal gains in his life.

“If nothing else, if nothing comes of ninja, I’m becoming a stronger climber which is my passion.”