Ken Singletary was just a few coconuts away from reaching the “American Ninja Warrior” regional finals two years ago. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center research specialist will try again March 30 in Tacoma, Washington.

Singletary, 48, is one of about 400 contestants in Season 13 of the popular summer NBC competition series, which sends athletes through an array of diabolical obstacles. In his only previous attempt, Singletary got to the fifth of six obstacles in the Oklahoma City Regionals, losing his grip on the “Coconut Climb.” Had he completed the obstacle, he would have advanced.

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The first round will be taped for later broadcast, and if he qualifies, the semifinals are in Los Angeles and the finals in Las Vegas.

“I’m getting older, and doing this stuff hurts more,” he said. “But my heart, my mind wanted to do it badly enough that I decided to try it again. I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have to do this stuff, and I enjoy it, so I want to take advantage of it while I can.”

Singletary said his first experience taught him he’ll have to plan ahead to conserve his strength through the course.

“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do every obstacle out there,” he said. “It’s just doing every one of them in a row."

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Singletary is using his participation in the competition to raise money for the Dr. Sheila Moore Fund for Kids with Cancer and Blood Disorders at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital. Contributions can be made online at

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