Austin dad competing on American Ninja Warrior is already a local hero

American Ninja Warrior contestant Robin Dehaven, 35.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin father is putting his strength to the test, competing on the NBC hit show American Ninja Warrior Monday night.

Robin DeHaven, 35, said it’s been a dream since he watched his first episode five years ago.

“[I thought] oh my goodness, I want to do that,” said DeHaven. “[It was] like seeing an amusement for the first time.”

After two years of trying to get on the show, DeHaven was invited to compete. His chance to crash the course comes this week at the qualifying rounds in San Antonio.

It has been a journey getting here. On top of DeHaven’s day job, he trains six days a week which includes constant strength drills and cardio workouts. Recently, DeHaven added a mental piece to his regimen — yoga.

“It’s maybe 60 percent mental and 40 percent physical,” said DeHaven. “Yes, you have to be able to do it, but you have to be able to think.”

That level of quick action worked to his advantage in 2010 when he saw smoke and flames coming from the Echelon Building in North Austin. An angry taxpayer had flown his small plane into the office building with nearly 200 IRS workers inside, killing one person and injuring dozens more.

DeHaven, who is also a U.S. Army veteran, rushed to the building and started helping rescue people. He has received local and national recognition for life saving efforts that day, including the Carnegie Hero Medal.

That’s how he got the nickname “Hero Ninja.”

“I never experienced anything like that — to where you go through an event and have a delayed reaction when your mind starts processing what you just went through, because it happened so quick,” said Dehaven.

While training for the show is like a part time job, he does get some time off. Father’s Day will be a day of rest. It will be a nice break and a chance to teach his kids life lessons about becoming an American Ninja.

“One thing I hoped to get out of it was to teach them that it’s OK to dream big,” said DeHaven.

His episode of American Ninja Warrior airs Monday night at 7 p.m. on KXAN.

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