By Kate Quesada

When FishHawk residents tune into the hit television show American Ninja Warrior on July 17, they will have a hometown hero to cheer on. 

Taylor Bouton, a 21-year-old student at Brigham Young University in Utah who grew up in FishHawk Ranch, filmed an episode of the show in late-May in which athletes are timed attempting to complete a course made up of high skill obstacles. 

The Newsome High graduate called his trip the culmination of a lifelong dream. 

“I started watching American Ninja Warrior with my family when I was eight years old and it has turned into somewhat of an obsession for us,” said Bouton, the oldest of five siblings. “I spent hours training on the equipment in Ibis Park.”

Training became such a hobby to the Bouton family that they built 13 obstacles similar to those found on the show, including a Salmon Ladder, in their backyard. 

At the age of 17, Bouton began training at Life Training Center in Palmetto and despite not being old enough to compete on the show, he participated as a tester for an official course in Orlando two years ago. It was during his role as a tester that he completed the well-known Salmon Run obstacle and earned his nickname “The Nerdy Ninja” from veteran ninjas Drew Drechsel and Reko Rivera.

Last year, Bouton sent in a video submission to be on a college version of the show and although he was not chosen, the casting crew encouraged him to keep submitting applications. In early May, he received a phone call asking him to fly to Denver, Colorado later in the month for a filming. 

Due to his contract, Bouton cannot talk about what happened during the taping which took place at 3:30 a.m.

“All I can say is that that I was there and it was the trip of a life time,” he said. 

As for advice to anyone with dreams of making it on the show, Bouton keeps it simple.
“Just have fun,” he said. “And learn to fall. You’re going to fall a lot, but you just have to keep on trying and keep having fun.”

Tune into NBC at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 17 to see Bouton in action.


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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.