Local ‘Ninja Warrior’ competes for spot on national TV show

UW-La Crosse junior Drew Knapp qualifies for trip to Indianapolis

Maybe you’ve tuned in to catch the nation’s top “Ninja Warriors” compete in their version of the Super Bowl.

It’s enjoyable with a bowl full of popcorn, but with a handful of rosin hanging on to a rope for dear life? Let’s leave that to people like the Knapps of Green Bay.

“Growing, up my brothers and I would do our own ‘Ninja Warrior’ obstacles at home,” Knapp, a UW-La Crosse junior said. “It just became this huge mega-course in my back yard. I actually went home Easter weekend and we built a ninja wall with my family.

“That is just what we do.”

One phone call catapulted Drew Knapp from the back yard to become a national qualifier. He is on a new course attempting to advance to the promised land: Mount Midoriyama.

“I trained specifically for four years for this,” he said. “I turned 21, sent in my application, sent in my video and I get my call on the first year.”

At the end of April, Knapp heads to Indianapolis to the “American Ninja Warrior” regional qualifier. The slogan on his fans’ shirts will say “Can’t stop Knapp,” which dates back to his younger brother’s early obstacle in life that stands taller than any wall that Knapp will face.

“Back when I was in sixth grade, my brother Dalton, who is 16 months younger than me, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia,” Knapp said. “Basically he was my biggest competition growing up. He was better than me, stronger than me.

“That is going to be a big part of my run.”

Today Dalton is healthy and spending weekends with his older brother scaling Wisconsin’s best spots.

“It has been a combined dream for us, that is for sure,” Knapp said.