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Devin Harrelson on having fun while chasing his goals

He hasn’t hit a buzzer yet, but that doesn’t stop him from enjoying the journey.

Jason Koerner/NBC

Devin Harrelson (AKA: Dougie Fresh) is a big part of the American Ninja Warrior community even though he hasn’t had his shot at the National Finals just yet. He’s an example of how heart and determination matter more than buzzers in this sport.

Devin has appeared on the show for the past four consecutive seasons. Seasons 7 and 8 both ended early in the Qualifiers for Dougie. In season 9, he made it to the Warped Wall in the Kansas City Qualifiers, but his flashy style might have held him back. He was wearing shoes that lit up, but they didn’t provide much traction. He failed after his three attempts at the Wall and ended his season on the Floating Steps in the City Finals.

He wasn’t going to let that happen again in season 10. When we asked him about the shoes, Devin proudly showed off his new gear, saying, “It is a conscious decision to change my shoes. It kind of hurt me on the Warped Wall. They were really bulky. But the thing is with the new shoes, the same company made them and so, they will be lit.”

With his signature style on display in Miami, Devin took on the Qualifiers, making it all the way to the Slippery Summit and the City Finals. There, he was one of many Ninjas who fell on the Cannonball Drop. The National Finals and the buzzer eluded him for another year, but Devin’s love of Ninja Warrior wasn’t dampened.

Read on to find out more about all the fun Devin is having in his life as a Ninja.

“It’s hard to explain. They (The obstacles) are all really fun. It’s just when you put them together, that’s when the trouble comes in. That’s when it’s like ‘Oh wow, that’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be.”

“I hate running every day. It’s not fun. But when it comes to the course, I like to prepare my lungs. To do a lot of circuit courses. See how many times I do it before I give out. But I’ve had a couple time when I’ve fallen to learn from my mistakes.”

Fernando Leon/NBC

“So many fans, especially the kids. These kids are amazing. Some of them know every stat. They know everything about these Ninjas. Just talking to them and hearing what they want to do, and hearing what they want to be. ‘I wanna be like you,’ or, ‘I wanna be as strong as you.’ It’s really exciting to have that. You want to keep that going, so you continue to train. Continue to stay at the top of your game so you can continue to inspire.”

John Parra/NBC

“Honestly, Ninja Warrior has brought me a lot more new tattoo clients. People see me on the show and they’re like, ‘Wait, you’re a tattoo artist?!?’ It goes from that to, ‘When can I book an appointment?’ So that’s how Ninja helps me out.”

Eddy Chen/NBC

“I think that 90% of Ninja Warrior is mental. You can have the ability to do every single obstacle, but when you play in the fact that there’s an audience and cameras, it can take a toll on your mind. It makes obstacles in your mind. You’re not thinking the same way as you were thinking before you started. 90% of Ninja Warrior is mental. The rest is all technique.

I try to have distractions. I like loud noises while I’m training. For me, it’s the excitement of the fans. The crowd saying, ‘Let’s get it!’ That is what pushes me.”

“This season I’m expecting to go all the way. I’m expecting to go up the 18 foot Warped Wall. I’m expecting to get to the last obstacle.”

We’re hoping Devin has re-set that goal for 2019 and season 11! It’s time for a well-earned buzzer.