They saved the best for last.
Lance Pekus, the cowboy who lives Salmon, was the last competitor in the “American Ninja Warrior” stage 1 finals show Monday night.
He finished with the fastest time — so he advances to stage 2 of the finals on Sept. 18 — but that’s not the only reason fans were in tears. Pekus and his wife, Heather, spoke publicly about why she and their kids were watching him from Idaho.
Heather, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years ago, hasn’t been responding to the MS drugs that helped her stay active for so long, the Pekuses explained in a pre-recorded piece that aired before Pekus conquered the finals course. She now uses a walker.
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Within a half hour of the show’s airing Monday, 115 fans had wished Pekus and his family well on his Facebook page — and many said they have family or friends living with MS.
Here was one comment: “Loved your story, loved your run, and loved the hat on the buzzer! Proud to be an Idahoan! Bless you and your family. The force runs strong through you all. #cowboyninja #idahoproud
Pekus took off his signature black cowboy hat before he started the obstacle course. After hitting the buzzer after conquering the last obstacle, he placed a miniature black hat on top of it.
Pekus and the other contestants are chasing a $1 million prize.
The finals — taped earlier this year — are broken into three episodes. Stage 1 will air over two episodes (Sept. 4 and Sept. 11), and stage 2 will be one episode (Sept. 18), according to Pekus.
Read more about Pekus from an interview he did with the Statesman in July by clicking here.