“Can you really do a handstand on a skateboard?”
It’s the question that 70-year-old ninja warrior Richard Talavera says he has been asked just about every day since he competed in NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” reality competition show in April.
It appears he should get ready for a few more questions.
Talavera and other local competitors will find themselves back in the spotlight on Monday, July 3, when “Ninja Warrior” airs the Kansas City qualifiers episode, finally revealing the results of the first day of competition in front of a crowd of hundreds at Union Station on April 24.
“You will see quite a bit of Rich Talavera,” says Tim Cooper, an NBC story producer working on the show. “He is a featured runner in the show, and his segment includes a hometown bio package.”
As The Star did earlier this year, producers took specific interest in Talavera, one of the show’s oldest competitors, with a mind-blowing gymnastic talent to boot. (For his audition video, Talavera did a handstand on a skateboard.) Producers even made an additional trip to hang with him in Prairie Village to film additional scenes for the show.
“It was amazing, just the idea that they wanted to do that,” Talavera says. “They sent a three-man crew; they were awesome. It was like we were old friends. Working with those guys was great.”
Viewers can expect to see Talavera at his job as a pharmacy tech at a Prairie Village Hy-Vee, chowing down on Jack Stack barbecue with friends and family, working out in the gym and, of course, hitting a handstand or two.
In addition to Talavera, Cooper says viewers should also look closely for Independence teacher Annie Dudek as well as competitors from Fairway, Mission, Wichita and Ozark, Mo.
More than 100 competitors from as close as Kansas City and as far as Hong Kong tried to make it through a near-impossible obstacle course and a chance to compete among the top 30 competitors the following night for the finals round.
That round, airing Aug. 14, should include other area competitors as well.
Kansas City joined Los Angeles, Cleveland, San Antonio, Denver and Daytona Beach, Fla., as hosts for Season 9 of the show. Qualifying and final rounds in each city will air before the show’s national finals in Las Vegas later this summer.
The April visit marked “Ninja Warrior’s” second trip to Kansas City after an impressive 2015 run, also at Union Station: “I honestly think it was the best show we’ve ever had,” co-host (and former Oakland Raider) Akbar Gbaja-Biamila said in an interview with The Star.
“American Ninja Warrior” will air at 7 p.m. July 3 on NBC.
Competitor Rich Talavera will host a watch party from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hy-Vee at 95th and Antioch in Overland Park.