Sunday, September 23, 2018
TV and Media

Look for Oldsmar's Reko Rivera on 'American Ninja Warrior' and YouTube

Those watching American Ninja Warrior this week will see one of Tampa Bay's own swinging, leaping and climbing an obstacle course in hopes of achieving glory.

Reko Rivera of Oldsmar will be among those contending for a spot in the Atlanta qualifier, airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday on NBC. It marks his fifth season competing on the show, creating viral videos utilizing his Ninja Warrior skills in his free time.

Rivera, 30, said he was a fan of the original Japanese show Sasuke, and when he learned about the American version, decided to submit a video. He first competed in the show's fourth season in 2012.

"The first season was pretty intimidating when you get out there — the crowds, the lights, the audience, a hundred competitors watching you, your moves," Rivera said.

On the show, competitors in various cities try to complete an obstacle course in hopes of advancing to the final challenge — a four-stage course called Mount Midoriyama. To date, only two people have beaten the course, with only one winning the $1 million prize.

The show's seventh season last year was the closest he has gotten to reaching the finals in Las Vegas. In the Orlando qualifier, he finished in 16th place, putting him one spot away from the top 15, who advance to the finals in Las Vegas.

"Every season so far, I've increased my spot," Rivera said. "I was like the 30th, the 25th, then 16th, and then I'll have to see this year."

Last year, Rivera was also the man behind the dinosaur suit in a video called "American Ninja-Saurus" that went viral. In the video made by St. Petersburg's Brentwood Photography, he swings on bars, scales a rock wall and climbs a rope while contending with the tiny arms of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

He said he got the idea after seeing a friend who owned the outfit posting his own videos while wearing it.

"I was immediately like, 'I should do a Ninja Warrior in it,'" Rivera said.

The video currently has more than a million views on YouTube. Based on its popularity, Rivera appeared in a sequel called "Jurassic Parkour," which has almost a million YouTube views of its own.

The videos were filmed at Palmetto's LIVE Training Center and Longwood's Urban Ninja Parkour. Rivera said in order to train for the unique challenge of the show, he does a plethora of exercises including cross-training, calisthenics, rock-climbing and parkour, and has trained at 45 gyms in the country in the past four years.

"This year, I'm definitely hoping to make it to Vegas, the final spot," Rivera said. "It's a long time coming. We'll see what happens."


Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, September 23

TODAYAutosNHRA: Midwest Nationals2 p.m.FS1BaseballRays at Blue Jays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMReds at Marlins1 p.m.FSFOrioles at Yankees1 p.m.TBSCubs at White Sox2 p.m.MLBRockies at Diamondbacks4 p.m.TBSRed Sox at Indians7 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMCollege soccerWom...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Saturday, September 22

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Federated Auto Parts 4007:30 p.m.NBCSN; 102.5-FMBaseballGiants at Cardinals1 p.m.FoxRays at Blue Jays4 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMOrioles at Yankees4 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Indians7 p.m.MLBReds at Marlins7 p.m.FSFPadres at Dodgers (i...
Published: 09/21/18
All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

All the celebs arrested, married and sued this week from Plies to Bieber-Baldwin rumors

Here's a guide to some entertainment news you might've missed this week.ARRESTED: Rapper Plies was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag. The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident ...
Published: 09/21/18

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, September 21

TODAYAutosXfinity: Go Bowling 250 qualifying4:30 p.m.NBCSNMonster Energy Cup: Federated Auto Parts 400 qualifying6 p.m.NBCSNNHRA: Midwest Nationals7 p.m.FS1Xfinity: Go Bowling 2507:30 p.m.NBCSNBaseballCubs at White Sox4 p.m.MLBRays at Blue Jays7 p.m....
Published: 09/20/18

Sports on TV/radio for Thursday, September 20

TODAYBaseballRays at Blue Jays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMRed Sox at Yankees7 p.m.MLBReds at Marlins7 p.m.FSFCollege footballTulsa at Temple7:30 p.m.ESPNCollege soccerWomen: Texas A&M at Arkansas7 p.m.SECGolfPGA Europe: Portugal Masters6:30
Published: 09/19/18
'Sesame Street' scribe reveals LGBTQ inspiration for writing Bert and Ernie

'Sesame Street' scribe reveals LGBTQ inspiration for writing Bert and Ernie

It’s a question that’s been bandied about for decades: Are Sesame Street dynamic duo Bert and Ernie more than just roommates? Or are they instead engaged in a lifelong love affair?A recent interview with Mark Saltzman, a playwright and ...
Published: 09/19/18

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, September 19

TODAYBaseballCardinals at BravesnoonMLBRangers at Rays2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMRed Sox at Yankees7 p.m.ESPNRockies at Dodgers10 p.m.ESPN; 620-AMCollege volleyballTexas at Kansas State7 p.m.ESPNUArkansas at Texas A&M8 p.m.SECAlabama at Missouri9 p.m.ESPNU...
Published: 09/18/18

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, September 18

TodayBaseballRed Sox at Yankees1 p.m.MLBNationals at Marlins7 p.m.FSFTriple-A Championship7 p.m.NBCSNCardinals at Braves7:30 p.m.ESPNRays at Rangers8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMRockies at Dodgers10 p.m.MLBNHL preseasonHurricanes at Lightning7:30 p.m.970-AMSe...
Published: 09/17/18

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, September 17

TODAYBaseballNationals at Marlins7 p.m.FSFCardinals at Braves7:30 p.m.MLBRays at Rangers8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMNFLSeahawks at Bears8:15 p.m.ESPNNHL preseasonRangers at Devils7 p.m.NHLWild at Jets (in progress)9:30 p.m.NHLSoccerEPL: Brighton and Hove Al...
Published: 09/16/18

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, September 16

TODAYAutosF1: Singapore Grand Prix8 a.m.ESPN2Monster Energy Cup: South Point 4003 p.m.NBCSN; 102.5-FMIndyCar: Grand Prix of Sonoma6:30 p.m.NBCSNBaseballA’s at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 1250-AMMarlins at Phillies1:30 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Astros2 p.m.TBSDod...
Published: 09/15/18