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Dairyman Caleb Watson qualifies for American Ninja Warrior

Carrie Veselka for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 July 2016
Dairy farmer Caleb Watson

Dairy farmer Caleb Watson did the ag world proud when he competed in the American Ninja Warrior competition (Atlanta qualifying round) on June 8.

Finishing the course with a time of 1.29.59, Watson finished second in the top 30 competitors that get to move on to the next round.

Watson prepared for the competition by doing everyday chores and using the resources he had available. His introductory video shows him climbing silos and lifting tractor weights on the 260-cow family dairy in Sweetwater, Tennessee.American Ninja Warrior Caleb Watson trains on his dairy

“This whole place is my course,” Watson said in his introductory video, referring to the farm. “Dairy farming is set up for this Ninja Warrior course,” Watson said prior to the live-taping of his qualifying run.

Watson had very few concerns about competing in the show.

“I’m not the smartest guy in the world, so I thought I might make a mental mistake,” Watson says. “During that obstacle course you’ve got to be serious the whole time, and I’m not used to that.”

Watson says growing up on a farm helped him prepare for the Ninja Warrior challenge. He gave an example. “We had about 10 people out helping us with the straw today, and by the time we were two hours in, we were down to six people; four people quit. If you know anything about hauling straw when it’s 92ºF, it’s pretty rough,” Watson says. “We had four of them white-eyed within two hours.”

Watson says growing up working on a farm helped him prepare for competitions like American Ninja Warrior in many different ways.

“Me being brought up in that kind of thing was just right up my alley on being prepared for this Ninja Warrior thing,” Watson says. “When I was 10 and 11 years old, I was working just as hard as these 20-year-old boys. I believe that helped me physically and mentally.”

Entering the show was not a hard decision for Watson.

“I love climbing on things like they showed on TV,” Watson says. “I love doing any kind of competitive activity sport, so I thought, ‘Why not give it a whirl?’ and I went and gave it a whirl.”Caleb Watson competes on NBC's American Ninja Warrior

Watson wore a T-shirt with the Bible passage “Give me that mountain,” from Joshua 14:12 written on it during the competition.

“That’s the story that I live my life by,” Watson says. “That’s straight-up perfect for what I did because their show is about conquering a mountain and that Bible verse is talking about conquering a mountain, and it was Caleb in the Bible and I’m Caleb right here and now. It goes perfect for it.”

Watson says he didn’t really involve his family in the competition. “I didn’t really say too much about it, didn’t tell too many people because I don’t do that kind of thing.” Watson kept his trip to Atlanta low-key and inconspicuous. “I drove down to Atlanta and came back that night,” Watson says. “I was really only gone for about half a day, and nobody really noticed for a few days.”

Watson says that once people found out about the show, they got more excited.

“Everybody liked it when they’d seen the show and everyone was proud that I wore the shirt, so everybody’s happy.”  PD

See Watson’s qualifying round on youtube Caleb Watson at the Atlanta Qyalifier.

PHOTO 1: Dairy farmer Caleb Watson of Sweetwater, Tennessee, competed in the American Ninja Warrior Atlanta city qualifier competition on June 8.

PHOTO 2: Watson demonstrates the exercises he did to prepare for the competition.

PHOTO 3: Watson beats the last obstacle, the famed "Warped Wall," to finish the course with a time of 1.29.59. Photos taken from video of NBC’s 2016 Atlanta qualifying round of American Ninja Warrior. The show airs Mondays at 8/7c. To find out more about American Ninja Warrior visit NBC's website.

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