ADA, OKLAHOMA — For nearly an hour a day, six days a week, Daniel Manuel climbs ropes in his barn.
He practices his balance on a flat-bed trailer rail, and does more than a few of his special pull-ups.
But when he saw his first American NInja Warrior TV show, he went bigger.
“Since I’ve been pursuing American Ninja Warrior, I’ve really turned it up a notch,” he says.
The Manuel family consists of Daniel, wife Janel, daughter Grace, and son Blaze.
They live in a white house with a big porch in the old Oakman community north of Ada.
They have a couple of sheep, and a few new kittens.
Then, right around the time Daniel decided to train for the show, the whole family decided to carry the weight of another family member, an orphan from Africa.
“I was adopted as a toddler,” says Daniel, “and, every day, I’m thankful for the family that God has blessed me with. Even as a young person I knew that giving back the way that I was given to was something that I wanted to do.”
Daniel dedicated his appearance on the show to his family’s ongoing adoption efforts.
Adopting a child, even through an accredited agency requires running a different kind of obstacle course.
Manuel says, “I’ve made the comment that I think it would be easier to work for the CIA than adopt internationally.”
His kids are pretty good climbers.
Young Blaze wrote in his kindergarten journal about being a Ninja himself. “I can be a Ninja,” he wrote.
Just qualifying for the show was tough enough, but the rewards for both of his big quests are worth the reach, at least according to this family Manuel.
A visitor notes the already crowded bench on the front porch.
Janel Manuel responds, “We just have to get a bigger bench.”
Daniel echoes, “Or we can squeeze one more in.”
Danny Manuel made a short appearance on the Monday evening edition of American Ninja Warrior. He found trouble on the vertical wall section of the obstacle course and didn’t finish.
For a look at the full episode that aired Monday, June 2 go to http://tv.esquire.com/shows/american-ninja-warrior