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Ninja Warrior Goes on to Build a Backyard Competition Mecca

 Mike Cook is heading into his 5th year of hosting Ultimate Backyard Warrior competitions, and each one gets bigger and crazier than the one before!

Meryn Johnson

Outdoor ninja courses and events are popping up everywhere, but are there any as large and well attended as the Ultimate Backyard Warrior competition in Rocky Mount, North Carolina?

Every Memorial Day and Labor Day, ninja veteran, Mike Cook, puts on an epic Ultimate Backyard Warrior competition & event that attracts ninjas from all over the country. Daniel Gil has won the last two competitions in a stacked field of ninja superstars including Neil Craver, Grant McCartney, Adam Rayl, Sean Bryan, Josh Levin, and many more. This event is popular with the female superstars too. Natalie Duran, Jessie Graff, Tiana Webberley, Lindsay Eskildsen, Maggi Thorne, and Michelle Warnky have all attended in the past. Everyone is welcome though! You can come as a spectator or as an athlete. There are competitions available for ninjas ages 7 and up. As a bonus, the competitions are associated with the UNAA (Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association), so competitors have the chance to qualify for UNAA Regional or World Finals. Some courses are inside. Some courses are outside. One course is over the water, and one course is named “Rocky Mount Midoriyama”!

Ultimate Backyard Warrior

History of the Ultimate Backyard Warrior Competitions

It all began in 2015…

Mike Cook had made his first appearance on ANW Season 7, and fell on the 4th obstacle…

When he got back home, Mike’s wife asked, “Now what are you going to do?” Mike replied, “Build more obstacles!!” He enlisted the help of a new ninja buddy he’d met during filming, and together, they built and built and built! By Labor Day 2015, Mike held his first competition in his backyard, attracting 48 competitors and 250 spectators.

On Labor Day 2016, Mike held his fourth competition, which attracted 2,000 people to his house, as well as some major parking issues!

This prompted Mike to secure his current location in Rocky Mount. His first competition there was held over Memorial Day Weekend 2017.

In 2018, water was added under the course.

And some sweet additions for 2019…

Every out-of-town competitor (and their immediate family) has the option to stay in the North Carolina Wesleyan College dorms for free. Yep, you read that right! North Carolina Wesleyan College is offering up a FREE dorm room for UBW competitors and their immediate family! If you are interested in taking advantage of this generous offer, all you have to do is send an email to and let them know how many total people will be staying.

For kids in the 12-13 or 14-15 age groups, there will be a Pro-Kids component to the competition (that includes WATER!). For more info on that, click here.

And, as always…

Mike has verified that one lucky competitor will win a car, generously donated by Davenport AutoPark. Check the UBW website or facebook page for more details as the event gets closer.

Does this sound like your kind of competition? Over 100 competitors have already signed up, and Mike is expecting over 300 competitors to be signed up by the time of the event. Come join the fun by clicking here.

Ultimate Backyard Warrior