Fuquay-Varina professional ninja pushes past obstacles

Without his knowing, Devin Harrelson's wife signed him up to try out for the show America Ninja Warriors. Seven years later, the Fuquay-Varina native is still charging through obstacles showing a big personality along the way.

Video Transcript

JOE MAZUR: Without his knowing, Devin Harrelson's wife signed him up to try out for the show "American Ninja Warriors." Seven years later, the Fuquay-Varina native is still charging through obstacles, showing a big personality along the way. Not many learning curves are steeper than this one. Thrust into a world he didn't even know existed, Harrelson is now near the top of this game.

DEVIN HARRELSON: When I got bit by this ninja bug, man, it didn't stop. Like, I've ripped my hands a lot. I did this. But I just taped them up and kept on going.

JOE MAZUR: And going. Devin has turned himself into a professional Ninja Warrior.

DEVIN HARRELSON: This was meant for me. I feel like this was a path. Ninja was calling me and I haven't stopped since.

JOE MAZUR: His colorful style includes light up shoes and a signature pose. Attacking the course while donning a chain helped earn him the nickname Dougie Fresh after the iconic '80s rapper.

DEVIN HARRELSON: When people see colors and fun, bright and fun colors, they want to smile. And I want people smile. I want people to be around me and have a good time. And so I feel like with the way that I dress, my personality and everything else, I can show that through my clothing and deliver that look. This is all love. Come on over here and get some of this colorful love.

JOE MAZUR: Five years ago, Harrelson opened his own ninja gym and tattoo parlor in Garner. Returning from a competition in March of 2019, he found it vandalized. All of his hard work destroyed. Dejected, Devin decided to close the doors for good. The wound remains open.

DEVIN HARRELSON: I just thought that it would be a lot to try to start back over, especially the way-- I'm sorry. I cut ties and said goodbye to Ninja Techniques and tried to see where the next journey was going to take me.

JOE MAZUR: Onward, over, and upward, that's where Harrelson has gone, succeeding with style despite being set up to fail at every turn.

DEVIN HARRELSON: If I would be the last-- oh, man. To me, to be the last person standing, it would be my ninja badge of approval.

JOE MAZUR: It would also give him $100,000. That would help fuel Devin's other passion, which is tattooing. He plans to open a mobile tattoo parlor soon. Joe Mazur ABC11 "Eyewitness News."