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Karson Voiles on the Power Tower, ‘There was no way I was going to lose that race.’

He’s heading back to the National Finals with the Safety Pass in his possession.

Karson Voiles is a six-time American Ninja Warrior veteran who now can say he’s a a five-time National Finalist. Karson secured his place in this year’s Las Vegas competition at the Seattle/Tacoma City Finals. There, he took second place overall with his run to the ninth obstacle, Northwest Passage. But he was the first to hit the buzzer on the Power Tower (which he ran against Dan Yager), meaning Karson has the Safety Pass.

That re-do just might be the ticket Karson needs. In seasons seven, nine, and 10, he’s fallen on Stage Two of the National Finals. The Safety Pass would give him another shot at the course should that happen again.

We touched base with Karson throughout the auspicious start to his season. We learned about the drive that keeps him coming back, bouncing back from defeat, and his high hopes for this year.

Matthew Hayward/NBC

“So last season, I was feeling really good. Just doing my thing, made it to Vegas, got past Stage One again, got to Stage Two and fell on the second to last obstacle, again! That’s three years in a row of falling on that same, second to last, obstacle on Stage Two. Yeah, last two years have been Wingnut Alley.”

“Well, first of all, it’s like the stages of grief. Because at first you deny it, and you have excuses and, ‘Aww, I could have done it,’ and this, that, and the other. And then you accept it. Really what it comes down to is every Ninja doesn’t do as well as they wanted to do, unless they win the entire thing. Not a whole lot of guys have done that, as you know.

But the Ninja kind of has this fighting spirit that goes along with it, especially with the veteran guys that keep coming back. They come back stronger, more hungry than they were before. It’s because we don’t like to be defeated by anything, not just the obstacles but anything in life. You’ll find that among Ninjas. We like to battle. You’ve got to look forward to that next season and that’s what keeps you motivated, keeps you going. You know, ‘Next time, next time, we’ll get it.”

“I’m super blessed. I have lots of motivation. My family’s a huge motivator for me. I have a million students that come to my gym that are like, ‘Come on! You’ve got to win. You’ve got to win!’

And then this year, I have a little bonus motivation. I really want to win this for not just my girls, my wife and daughters, but my dad as well. He’s had some health things come up. It’s kind of like, ‘Oh boy, if I’m going to take this down, I better do it quick,’ kind of a scenario. So like I said, I’m super blessed. I have a lot of motivation, coming from all kinds of different ways.”

Matthew Hayward/NBC

“City Finals was amazing. First of all, the course was so much fun, kind of right up my alley, and I ended up in second place being able to do the Power Tower race. And there was no way I was going to lose that race.

I ran relatively early, so there was a lot of people still left to go. A lot of really good Ninjas left to go. So when I fell, I just figured, ‘Oh, I hope that’s good enough for Vegas.’ I didn’t anticipate being in the top two, being able to do the Power Tower race at that point. And as the night went on, it was like, ‘Wait a second. I’m still a contender for being in this Power Tower race. What’s going on?’ And then there was so many upsets, all these guys falling in unexpected spots. Like, wait a second, I’m about to run this Power Tower race. I better warm up. Here we go.

That race was amazing. Just knowing that it’s do or die, just speed. No holding back. Go as fast as you can. That, you know, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of no holding back at all. I mean you just go full speed. And hitting that buzzer at the end, obviously. It’s just the best feeling ever. Even though I didn’t hit any other buzzers in Tacoma. I’ll take that one.”

“Having the extra life (Safety Pass) is incredible. I can go into Stage One, Stage Two, and just relax a little bit. Just kind of takes the nerves down. I think it’s going to change the whole game. I don’t think I’m going to actually even need it, but partially because I have it, I’m not going to need it. So it’s a good feeling, that’s for sure, to have that in my back pocket, just in case.

More confidence, just more focus. Instead of being so paranoid about falling on a specific obstacle. I can just go out there and do my thing, rather than stressing so much about the outcome if I’m not successful.”

Matthew Hayward/NBC

“I’m expecting for me personally, I’m expecting to make it into Stage Three. Go through Stage One, stay focused. Get Stage One done. Get Stage Two done, for the first time ever for me. And that’ll get me to Stage Three, and for Stage Three, that is my strength. That’s where I feel more comfortable. So Stage Three should be a lot of fun for me. And then we’ll see if I can make it up the final tower at the end. That’s my perspective.”

We’ll find out if Karson needs to use that Safety Pass when the American Ninja Warrior National Finals kick off on August 26.