Geoff Britten – who came within seconds last summer from becoming the first American Ninja Warrior and grabbing a $1 million prize – will be the featured guest this weekend when Buffalo Ninja Warrior 6 takes place downtown at Hybrid Fitness.
His appearance won’t be the first time Buffalo has shown Britten some love.
Adam Martin, co-owner of Dave and Adam’s Card World shops in Clarence and Kenmore, started a Go Fund Me campaign after Britten walked away empty-handed from last year’s season finale.
“It just seemed incredibly unfair to me,” said Martin, who was among a legion of ANW fans disappointed with the way the finale went down.
Britten, a Maryland native and freelance sports cameraman, went head-to-head with Colorado rock climber Isaac Caldiero, and became the first contestant in seven seasons to finish every obstacle in the qualifying rounds and finals.
He ended the historic feat by completing the fourth and final round in the finals – the first time in American Ninja Warrior history – by shimmying up a 75-foot rope in 30 seconds. Here's the scene from the show:
Caldiero – who had completed all but one of the qualifying courses, and was invited to the finals because of his successes – followed Britten, completing the rope climb a few seconds faster.
As a result, Caldiero was named the first American Ninja Warrior and awarded the $1 million prize.
Britten got nothing. No title. No money.
“I’m watching the show at home and feeling like, ‘I don’t know this guy, I’m not the biggest American Ninja fan, but I couldn’t imagine that someone can accomplish something so incredibly difficult and get nothing,’” Martin said. “I felt they should split the prize. They both did what was impossible.”
The next day at work, after talking to partner Dave Silver and members of their staff, Martin set up a page for Britten at gofundme.com.
A nice gesture from a Buffalo guy, considering Hybrid Fitness owner Patrick Hall described Britten as the “Tom Brady of American Ninja Warrior.”
The fund held $13,690 as of Wednesday morning. Martin said he turned access over to Britten months ago, though it appears the American Ninja Warrior finalist has yet to touch it.
Martin hopes he does.
“I hope we were able to do something that takes the sting out of the situation a little bit,” he said. “I know it would bother me if I was him.”
It remains to be seen if Martin, who received a thank you email from Britten after the account was set up, will meet the American Ninja Warrior runner-up this weekend. Qualifying rounds run on Saturday and finals on Sunday. Britten will be among the competitors, Hall said.
“It’d be nice to one day say hello to him because of the connection there,” said Martin, who has tickets to the Sabres-Hurricanes game downtown on Saturday afternoon.
Spectator tickets remain for Buffalo Ninja Warrior 6. They can be purchased online at hybridfitnessbuffalo.com, and competitors are still welcome to sign up on the website, too.
Martin, 48, isn’t a member of the Hybrid Fitness obstacle gym, set up for aspiring American Ninja Warrior competitors and competitions like the one this weekend. He prefers to play floor hockey and do cardio and strength training at Buffalo’s Ultimate Fitness Facility – “The Buff” – in Clarence.
Still, he admires the competition.
“I’m a casual fan who got wrapped up in the finale,” Martin said. “It was good television. What these guys were able to do was just unbelievable. The strength and the agility is incredible.”
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon