SPRINGFIELD, NJ - It was months in the making, and Kira Hoffer could not tell a single person.
As the airdate for her appearance on American Ninja Warrior Junior approached, the Springfield tween and her family waited with bated breath. Finally, this past Saturday, Kira's episode aired on Universal Kids, and the cat was out of the bag.
For Kira, who had filmed the episode last summer, the wait was unbearable.
“It was amazing," Hoffer said. "I did this in July, and I’ve been waiting I don’t know how many months, but it’s been a while and it’s been really hard to keep a secret that big for me for that long, but I did it, and now that it’s out, I can actually express how happy I am."
She added, "If you gave any type of expression or anything [away] it would give out a hint and you didn’t want to give it off because nobody would be surprised, and this way, everybody would be able to see what happened together and I really liked that.”
On her first run in the seeding round, Hoffer faced off against Brooklyn Sittner. She got out to a fast start and never looked back, using her skills on the ring toss obstacle to help her move on to a faceoff in the knockout round against boys' runner up Tyler Smith.
In Hoffer's second run, she posted a time 17 seconds better than her first run against Sittner. However, she was outdueled just slightly by Smith, who advanced to the Final Showdown in the 11-12 age bracket.
Hoffer's first and second runs can be seen below:
Despite not advancing out of her age bracket, Hoffer was still happy knowing that she did what she initially set out to do.
“Just to know that I was there," she said. "And I accomplished hitting the buzzer without falling in the water. I accomplished what I came to do.”
Kira's father Ben Hoffer said that even after her time in the spotlight, he and the rest of the family are still excited and proud of what Kira did.
"We're incredibly proud of her," Hoffer said. "We would be incredibly proud of her whether she did it or not, but she's always been incredibly gifted athletically and she set her sights on this. She wanted to do it...and she was successful."
Hoffer also noted that waiting until after Shabbat has ended to see the episode was another example of Kira being able to balance the religious and secular halves of her life.
"Just dealing with the tape delay is another example of her commitment to our religion," he noted. "The idea that this is something every kid would dream to be on American Ninja Warrior Junior, and it happens to be the one time you get this once-in-a-lifetime experience is on Shabbos, and she delays it until after Shabbos."
Hoffer also went on to describe the scene in the Hoffer house, as 35 of Kira's friends cheered and shouted their heads off in support of her work.
"She's really made everybody proud," he added.
And as for Kira when asked if she was going to continue ninja training, she said she likely would, as she enjoys the activities. And when asked if she would look into competing on the grownup American Ninja Warrior in a few years, Hoffer only had one thing to add.
"That would be awesome," she said with a smile.