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Tampa Bay’s ‘Ninja Family’ make show history again

In the semifinals, the Bergstrom family was part of two firsts in “American Ninja Warrior” history.
 
From left, Caleb Bergstrom, his wife Ashley Bergstrom, David Bergstrom-Wright, and David’s wife Caitlyn Bergstrom-Wright, 25 at the family's Jungle Gym parents  in Pinellas Park.
From left, Caleb Bergstrom, his wife Ashley Bergstrom, David Bergstrom-Wright, and David’s wife Caitlyn Bergstrom-Wright, 25 at the family's Jungle Gym parents in Pinellas Park. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Aug. 22, 2023|Updated Aug. 22, 2023

PINELLAS PARK — The Bergstoms, known as “The Ninja Family,” have a history of making history as “American Ninja Warrior” competitors.

And Caleb Bergstrom might still make more history, possibly as the winner of Season 15 of the series that has contestants race extreme obstacle courses for a $1 million grand prize.

On Monday’s episode, Caleb Bergstrom might have advanced to the second of four rounds in the finals by finishing the first-round course. He was the fastest in that episode’s time trial competition.

The 24-year-old Pinellas County resident is not allowed to say what happens next on the NBC show taped earlier this year.

But he is now allowed to discuss the history that his family made in the semifinals episode that aired on Aug. 14 when his sister, Caitlyn Bergstrom-Wright, 25, raced his wife, Ashley Bergstrom, 23.

It marked the first time in the series’ history that family members raced one another head-to-head.

“It was one of the toughest runs I’ve ever watched,” Caleb Bergstrom said. “I wanted to cheer for both. Cheering for one over the other was impossible.”

Caleb Bergstrom first made ninja history during Season 11 when, at 19, he became the youngest competitor to successfully scale the 18-foot Mega Warped Wall.

Then, in Season 12, Caleb Bergstrom and his sister became the first siblings to advance to the show’s finals.

This season, Caleb Bergstom and his wife were the first married couple to advance to the finals when she defeated his sister.

If Caitlyn Bergstrom-Wright won, that distinction would have belonged to her and her husband, David Bergstrom-Wright, 23. He too advanced to the finals.

“We were in shock when we learned we’d be racing against each other because none of us thought it would happen,” Ashley Bergstrom said. “But at the same time, it also made us happy because we knew one of us would make it to the finals.”

In their semifinals race, both failed to finish the course’s third obstacle, the slingshot, which is like an extreme set of monkey bars. Ashley Bergstrom moved on to the finals because she had reached the slingshot first.

Caleb Bergstrom was the only family member to finish the time trial course on Monday’s episode. Eight of that episode’s 32 competitors completed it, including two more from Tampa Bay — Enzo Wilson and Vance Walker.

Another 32 first round time trial races will air at 8 p.m. on Aug. 28.