- COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL KIDS
Fourteen-year-old Rose Lord of Charlotte sings vocals in an acoustic band called Minimal Prep. That fact is a wee bit ironic, considering that her other hobby, which landed her two appearances on "American Ninja Warrior Junior," requires maximum prep. Rose is a competitive ninja warrior who's been training since she was 9 at Regal Gymnastics in Essex. She recalls peeking into the gym's Ninja Warrior Training Center one day after her gymnastics class and getting excited about all the cool climbing, hanging and jumping obstacles she saw. "I was like, Oh my god, what is this?" she said. "I didn't know it was a sport you could train for."
Several years ago, Rose saw a flyer at Regal for a casting call for "American Ninja Warrior Junior," a Daytime Emmy-nominated series on Universal Kids in which 9- to 14-year-olds compete as they race across extreme obstacles with names like Crazy Cliffhanger, Double Tilt Ladders, and the Shrinking and Floating Steps. After sending in a 10-page application, along with photos and videos of her in Regal's training center to Universal, she was cast in the first season of the show, which aired in 2018-19. In that season, she was eliminated in the semifinals. She wasn't deterred though. Last year, she reapplied for the second season of the show and was chosen again.
In July, Rose and her mom, Anne Mollo, flew out to Los Angeles for a week of filming. Competing with a camera trained on her created a little added pressure, said Rose, a student at the Schoolhouse in South Burlington. But, she said, the experience was "interesting" and "fun." The Ninja Warrior community is a supportive and welcoming one, she added, and it was great to be part of a group of kids who had the same "compete-against-yourself, no-aggression mindset" as she does. Rose appeared in the second season premiere on February 22. Those who missed it can watch it on the Universal Kids app or online at universalkids.com.
Rose said she'll continue to compete in regional and national competitions, and she hopes to be a counselor for Regal's Ninja Warrior camps this summer. And when she's not busy scaling walls and swinging from ring to ring, there's always (minimal) band prep.