Is Pulaski County home to the next American Ninja Warrior?
If Cameron Nave has anything to say about it, yes.
Nave, a 21-year-old Southwestern High School alum, recently learned that he has been accepted onto the NBC reality competition "American Ninja Warrior."
"I've been a fan since Season 1 over 10 years ago," he said. "It's been a dream (to be on the show) ever since I first saw it."
"American Ninja Warrior" has aired since 2009 and is an Americanized version of a Japanese program in which individuals test their athletic skills and sharpness by attempting a succession of obstacle courses in competition with one another.
This isn't just a fantasy for Nave, though. He's extremely athletic and is currently working toward opening a rock climbing gym in Somerset.
"I race motocross, ride BMX (bikes), rock climb, (do) Parkour, and train calisthenics," said Nave.
A special part of his athletic youth was spent doing these things with his father, Scott, who passed away in December.
"My dad was always my biggest fan," he said. "He got me a dirt bike when I was 5 and I started racing motocross by the time I was 7. He never missed a single race, and as I got older, I started wrestling. He never missed a single thing I did. He was always there cheering me on, and would always brag about me to his friends."
Nave has been specially training for two months, preparing for the gauntlet the show will throw at him.
"I enjoy challenging myself," he said of his interest in such rigorous physical activities. "I love to set goals that seem impossible, and then achieving them. It gets my body in great shape and feeling good, and at the same time sharpens my mental game."
Once he decided to give "American Ninja Warrior" a shot, Nave filled out an online application of several pages and shared his story with the producers. He also submitted a three-minute video that he filmed of himself.
When he finally got the call on April 18 -- he had missed a call and dialed the number back, only to discover it was the casting director -- he was "shocked and pumped."
By this point, the reality of this accomplishment has "sunk in for sure," said Nave.
Nave said he is scheduled to compete on May 24 and has "a feeling of what it be like" to give the obstacle course a go. He's not worried about it, he noted, and is looking forward to running up the 18-foot warped wall -- and, he added confidently, winning $1,000,000.
"I'm just excited," he said. "... I'm sure it will blow me away."