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Hancock woman competes with daughter on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Courtesy photo—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Courtesy photo—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Courtesy photo—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Daria Beird, 55, of Hancock recently appeared on an episode of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course competition. Beird was inspired to compete by her daughter, Allyssa Beird, one of the competition's top athletes. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, July 13, 2018 2:5PM

Daria Beird’s Mother’s Day weekend this year had it all: family, fun and ninjas.

Beird, 55, of Hancock, spent the weekend in Philadelphia filming with her daughter Allyssa Beird. The two women competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, an obstacle course-based show that tasks each “ninja” with completing increasingly challenging obstacle courses.

Beird, the oldest female to compete at the Philadelphia qualifier, said that she was inspired to compete on the show after watching her daughter become one of the premier athletes in the competition – Allyssa went farther than any other female competitor last season.

“She is so inspiring. Every time I watch her, she makes it look easier and easier,” Beird said. “I keep thinking, alright, I can definitely get there. I’m inspiring to be just like her. I love it.”

Beird’s interest in American Ninja Warrior began a few years ago, spurred by her own boredom.

Home alone, Beird was flipping through TV channels when she caught the show right before going to commercial break. With nothing better to do, she decided to give the show a shot.

“My jaw just dropped, I knew it was something I wanted to do,” Beird said.

While Beird had an interest in becoming a ninja, it wasn’t until her daughter began competing that she really got the bug.

Last July, Beird hunted down the closest ninja gym – about an hour and a half away in Massachusetts – and went for an open gym session. It was about three weeks later than she signed up for her first competition.

“I was hooked from that moment on,” said Beird. “The ninja community is very supportive. I was determined in wanting to try.”

Much of Beird’s training occurs during her day job as a barn manager at Almost There Farm in Lyndeborough, where she has worked since moving to Hancock around two years ago.

“All this shoveling horse manure has done a world of good for me,” said Beird with a laugh. “When I left my corporate job, I said that I was definitely going to get a barn job. I don’t care what it is, I just want to be outside and working with horses… it has been great.”

In addition to working on a farm, Beird continues to go to a ninja gym and is working to convert an old children’s swingset into a custom workout center.

Beird said she already has installed a salmon ladder – a popular ninja obstacle where the user has to use their upper body to ascend up a structure using a movable straight bar with a series of pull-up-style motions – and plans to create more ninja obstacles in the future.

Beird’s training helped her easily complete the first of six obstacles in the qualifying round – a set of five angled steps suspended over a pool of water known as the floating steps – but her lack of familiarity with the second obstacle was her undoing. Her daughter, however, did move into the next phase of the competition after completing all six obstacles.

“My heart was racing a mile a minute when it was time for her run,” her daughter Allyssa said.“It was pretty cool to watch her to compete, and there was definitely a feeling of pride. It’s nice to be able to share this with her.”

A new obstacle – the spinning bowties – was similar to monkey bars, but each bar swung on a pendulum-style device. Beird transitioned from the first bowtie to the second without issue, but fell into a pool of water after she held on too long to the second.

“You have to have the mental ability to see how the obstacle is supposed to work – the physics of it, how you need to use your hands, where your feet have to land, and how you get your body over there,” said Beird.

Beird has had a chance to watch the episode she was in – it aired on June 25 – and hopes to use her experiences to make it further in next year’s competition.

“It was great to be up there and be a role model for people in my age group,” Bierd said. “I know a lot of people are so excited that I’m out there doing this, and I love that, but I also feel like I disappointed a lot of people because I feel like I should’ve had that. Next year, I’m hitting that buzzer [at the end of the qualifying round].”

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.