When watching incredible feats of strength and agility, such as the NBC show “American Ninja Warrior,” most people sit back and marvel while muttering to themselves, “Never in a million years . . .”
However, there are a few people out there who watch others scale walls and dangle from their fingertips and say, “Why not?!”
April Gould is one of those people.
The 37-year-old Gilbert mother of three is a dental hygienist by trade, but also includes professional water skier, goat farmer and trapeze artist on her resume, so it’s safe to say that she has a full plate—or maybe multiple plates, all spinning on tall sticks.
“I like to do a lot of fun things,” Gould says with a laugh. “I like to juggle. I like to juggle my family and I try to have fun and keep my life interesting so that I stay young. That’s my ultimate goal, I think—just try to stay young.”
So how did this East Valley native, who already has a job, three kids and 47 goats to keep her busy, decide to try out for NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” a competition TV show in which athletes attempt to complete a series of very intense obstacle courses?
“My family loves to watch ‘American Ninja Warrior’ and every time we watch, my kids would say, ‘Mom—you should do that!’ So I was like, ‘Why not?!’”
Gould sent in a video and an application to the show and a little while later, she was contacted and told that of the 50,000 applicants, she was one of the 130 chosen to run the course.
Although Gould’s daily activities and challenges keep her in shape, she still needed to train and didn’t have much time to do it.
“When I got the call that they wanted me to actually run the course, I went to my local gym and I was like, “I’m going to be on ‘American Ninja Warrior!’” and they were like, ‘That’s great! When?!’ And I was like, ‘I have two and a half weeks!’ So they took me under their wing and I worked out every day, twice a day for two and a half weeks and they completely transformed me. They took me from being in-shape to strong.”
Gould’s family was completely supportive and behind her. Her husband, Russell, helped out when he could and their three kids, Autumn, Summer and Lincoln, understood that their mom was doing and what there was an end in sight. Together they made it work.
Of the 130 people chosen to run the “American Ninja Warrior” course, only 12, including Gould, were women—a fact that really resonated with Gould. However, when the words “role model” were said and when she was asked about what her two daughters think of their warrior mother, Gould’s usually infectiously perky attitude quiets.
“Wow! Those are big shoes to fill!”
She pauses and thinks through the next words.
“For my girls, I just want to prove to them that they can do anything that they put their mind to no matter how big the obstacle, no matter how out there it may seem.”
But Gould doesn’t let it get to her head, “People looking at me as a role model—that’s unexpected. I’m honored by that. [But] I’m not going into this to be like ‘I want to be a role model!’ I’m just trying to be the person that I am.”
While she can’t reveal how she did on the “American Ninja Warrior” (we can all find out on May 25 at 8 p.m. on NBC), there is one thing that Gould is absolutely positive about.
“I definitely am going to want to do it again next year. [It’s] so addictive. You have no idea. The people there are incredible. All the other ninjas—meeting everybody and seeing these people that I had been admiring their skills on TV and meeting them in person—they’re even greater in person. So just to be part of the ‘Ninja’ family is so amazing.”