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Jody Avila hosted his 3rd annual Big Dog Ninja Challenge last weekend

Barclay Stockett, Daniel Gil, RJ Roman, and Josh Salinas were among the competitors.

Jody Avila

Jody Avila has been hosting a big backyard Ninja competition at his home in Sugar Land, Texas for four years now, and it’s been called the “Big Dog Ninja Challenge” for 3 years – ever since Akbar gave Jody the Big Dog nickname. Jody describes his competition as “basically a yearly ninja hangout, where there just so happens to be a competition going on.” Competing in the Big Dog Ninja Challenge does require serious Ninja skills though. Jody says, “It’s an invite-only competition because it’s always a course for advanced Ninjas.” For $20, athletes get to compete, enjoy a ton of food and fun, and have a chance at podium prizes and giveaways.

Last weekend’s event attracted many top Ninjas including Daniel Gil, Barclay Stockett, David Wright, and Thomas Stillings. At the end of the competition, Josh Salinas, RJ Roman, and Nick Fordney finished on top and earned custom-made medals and Monstro Ninja Holds. Jody also had prizes and giveaways from Ten Thousand Clothing Company, Strike Force Energy, KT Tape, and Friction Labs — all of which were popular with the Ninjas.

Jody Avila
Jody Avila

Much like American Ninja Warrior, The Big Dog Ninja Challenge has only one division – Pro Ninja. For the last three years, Barclay Stockett has been the lone woman competing with all the men. Jody isn’t one bit worried about that though, saying, “Barclay has to go up against all the guys and trust me, she has never had a problem giving these boys a run for their money.”

For the first time in Big Dog Ninja Challenge history, there were no finishers on this year’s course. Jody was a little bummed about this, saying, “Unfortunately this was the first time I had no finishers on any of my courses, which I’m very disappointed in myself about. There’s a thin line between challenging and too hard and I may have crossed that line. It seemed to be once everyone got to the ‘Cane Crank’, it just sucked the life out of them pedaling that bar. In my opinion, the endurance required to complete the course was the true Ninja killer.”

We all know that Ninjas love a challenge though, and the tough course didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits.

The Ninjas had fun beyond the competition, too. A highlight for Jody was watching his friends come up with awesome Ninja challenges all over the course

Video courtesy Jody Avila

Another highlight was playing Super Smash Bros. Jody explained, “After the competition, we all played Super Smash Bros in my movie room! We all quickly learned that not only is Daniel Gil one of the best Ninjas on earth, but he’s probably one of the best Super Smash Bros players out there as well!”

According to Jody, putting on the competitions is a lot of work, and he gets tons of help from his wife, Pauline. Being able to host an event that brings local and out-of-town Ninjas together makes it all worth it, though.

Many Ninjas tell Jody that the Big Dog Ninja Challenge is one of their favorite events of the year, so we’re guessing this competition will continue to be a staple in the Texas Ninja Community for many years to come.

Jody Avila