ninja warrior

Rockford Ninja Warrior

What happens when a church and a public school system work together? 

Rockford Ninja Warrior is among the largest community-sponsored ninja fitness events in the United States, featuring top competitors from the hit television show American Ninja Warrior.

Like the show, it’s a heart-racing series of obstacles of increasing difficulty, laid out on a course where athletes try to make it through to the end, a gnarly 14-foot warped wall. Second only to the American Ninja Warrior television program course, Rockford Ninja Warrior provides a seriously challenging professional course for competitors.

Created to help support the youth in the community, the event began in 2014 when Brian Pankratz, then a lead elder at Bridgeway Community Church, decided the growing congregation needed a unique way to raise funds for a youth center.  Rockford is a very active, health-conscious community so it was a perfect fit for a kid-focused outreach.

Proceeds from Rockford Ninja Warrior will go toward local youth development programs, including the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program and the Rockford Public Schools’ Developing Healthy Kids education series.

The third annual Rockford Ninja Warrior will take place on August 12 and 13 at the old paper mill, future building site of Bridgeway Community Church, at 7700 Childsdale Avenue, in Rockford, Michigan, and is expected to bring over ten thousand adventure seekers.

With a professional adult course and several youth courses, as well as camps for both adults and kids in the weeks leading up to the event, there is something for all ages and levels of ability.  It’s a family-friendly event, with free admission for spectators and free parking. There will also be concessions and merchandise and, of course, some of the top American Ninja Warrior competitors from the show, including Grand Rapids’ own Andrew Karsen, to support the event, compete and offer meet-and-greets.

This event is powered by volunteers and sponsors from across West Michigan. If you’d like to help, check out for more information and volunteer links.

Thank you to Brian Pankratz, with his heart for kids, to Bridgeway Community Church and Rockford Public schools, for collaborating to present this inspiring event, and to the plethora of sponsors, and volunteers it takes to pull this thing off each year.


Have you touched anyone lately?