A national TV audience watched two central Ohio students compete on American Ninja Warrior Junior, which aired Nov. 24 on the Universal Kids network.
That audience included dozens of people gathered at watch parties at the Westerville residence of 10-year-old Taylor Richards and the Galloway residence of 14-year-old Noah Buschur.
"It was kind of crazy to see myself on TV," said Noah, even though he was well aware, as was his father, Nick, what was about to occur.
Noah, an eighth-grader at Hilliard Memorial Middle School, and Taylor, a fifth-grader at Worthington Park Elementary School, each completed filming for episode 7 of season 1 of "American Ninja Warrior Junior" in July at a Los Angeles studio, but they were required to keep the results under wraps until it aired.
Even Noah's mother, Francie, said she was unaware of the particulars of Noah's performance.
Both Noah and Taylor were eliminated from competition in the episode.
Noah advanced in the seeding round but lost his second match in the knockout round, failing to advance from the field of 64 competitors in his age group to a field of 32. He fell on the Warped Wall obstacle.
"I never did anything like that before," Noah said. "The course was fun, but it was real. You fell into real water."
Taylor advanced into the field of 32 in her age group but fell on the Tik Toc obstacle during the "final showdown" segment.
All the contestants had the opportunity to practice the course several times and work with adult mentors who were past competitors on "American Ninja Warrior."
"I was nervous at first and had never done anything quite that challenging, but after a couple of times, I wasn't so nervous," Taylor said.
Both said they made new friends, and both want to apply for the show's second season, though a second season has not been announced, according to Tim Richards, Taylor's father.
In all, 192 students competed this year, divided into three age groups: 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14.
"About 10,000 kids applied for the first season. I'll bet two or three times as many apply next year now that it has been on TV," Tim Richards said.
The episode was such an event at the Buschurs' residence that Noah's family acquiesced to his demand that his miniature horse, Bob, join the watch party in the family's living room.
"We're getting new carpet soon, so that won't ever happen again, but Bob was there with us to watch," Francie Buschur said.
Taylor's family and friends gathered for watch parties not only at her residence but also at gatherings in Florida and Texas, said Tim Richards.
"We're kind of adrenaline junkies," he said, so Taylor's auditioning for "American Ninja Warrior Junior" was never questioned.
Tim Richards, his wife, Tricia, and their three children, Hunter, 17, Taylor, and Tyler, 4, enjoy motorsports, including riding motorcycles and ATVs, and avidly watch "American Ninja Warrior" and "Ultimate Fighting Championship."
"We watched 'American Ninja Warrior' from the first season," he said.
That inspired Taylor to begin competing in the "National Ninja League," separate from "American Ninja Warrior" but with similar challenges and activities.
Taylor has qualified for the "National Ninja League" national championship, to be held in February in Connecticut, and so has Noah.
Taylor was involved in gymnastics and soccer but chose to focus on "National Ninja League" after the family learned while watching "American Ninja Warrior" that a contestant, Worthington resident Michelle Warnky, co-owns Movement Lab Ohio, a training facility at 400 Lazelle Road in Columbus for people who compete in ninja-style activities and exercises.