Adam Martin got a chance to meet “American Ninja Warrior” finalist Geoff Britten on Saturday, at a cost.
Martin left the Buffalo Sabres-Carolina Hurricanes game a bit early to meet Britten, and ended up missing Jack Eichel score the game-winning goal in overtime.
“I wish I’d seen it because we represent Eichel for appearances and autographs. ... Every time he scores, I make money and he’s a great guy,” said Martin, who with Dave Silver owns Dave and Adam’s Card World shops in Clarence and Kenmore.
Still, the face-to-face meeting with Britten gave the American Ninja Warrior competitor a chance to thank Martin in person for starting a Go Fund Me campaign after Britten last September narrowly lost the season finale of the popular NBC television show.
Britten was in Buffalo to compete in Buffalo Ninja Warrior 6. He lost time on a couple of obstacles during the competition at Hybrid Fitness and ended up a close second locally, as well. Darren Wojcicki, who was battling a 102-degree fever, won the men’s division, Britten’s wife, Jessica, captured the women’s division and Aaron Miller won the kid’s division.
Hybrid Fitness owner Patrick Hall and National Buffalo Wing Festival founder and organizer Drew Cerza also announced over the weekend that Buffalo Ninja Warrior 7 will take place Sept. 3-4 during the festival at Coca-Cola Field.
The second-place Buffalo finish wasn’t nearly as disappointing as when the Maryland native and freelance sports cameraman came within three seconds of becoming the first American Ninja Warrior. He 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.
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.
Caldiero was named the first American Ninja Warrior and awarded the $1 million prize.
Britten got nothing, which seemed unfair to Martin and many other fans. “I felt they should split the prize,” Martin said. “They both did what was impossible.”
The next day at work, after talking to partner Silver and members of their staff, Martin set up a page for Britten at gofundme.com. The fund held $13,715 on Monday afternoon.
Britten thanked Martin by email for the kindness shortly after the finale.
“On Saturday, he said, ‘Thanks again for doing what you did. I had a lot of buddies wanting to do it for me and I told them no. You did it and that was OK, because I don’t know you.’”
One of Martin’s friends, Rich Streicher, works out at Hybrid Fitness and helped with Buffalo Ninja Warrior 6. After reading a WNY Refresh story about Martin’s role in the ANW controversy, Streicher arranged for Britten and Martin to meet at the downtown obstacle course gym.
Britten and Martin chatted for about 10 minutes and Martin and his wife, Tara, also got a chance to meet Britten’s wife.
“Rich put us together. If it weren’t for him, it wouldn’t have happened,” Martin said.
Although he missed the end of an exciting hockey game, he said, “It was great.”
Read more about last weekend's competition at the Hybrid Fitness Facebook page, here.
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon