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4 fitness enthusiasts with Arizona ties to compete on ‘Titan Games’

(NBC Photo)

PHOENIX – Four fit and determined everyday individuals with ties to Arizona will try to outlast 60 others starting Thursday in NBC’s physical challenges show “Titan Games.”

Action hero Dwayne Johnson created and hosts the 10-episode TV show, which puts the group through extreme tests of their muscles, endurance and inner strength.

The winner will walk away with $100,000.

Over 10,000 applied to the show. The Arizonans who made the cut are Steven Hoppe, a Mesa firefighter; Davy Barnes, a Scottsdale small-business owner and competetive bodybuilder; Matthew Welbourn, a bodybuilder who grew up in Flagstaff; and Christiana Rugloski, a horse riding clinic assistant and gym coach who listed Camp Verde as her hometown on the NBC biography.

For Hoppe, the competition was a chance to inspire others to overcome difficulties, he told the East Valley Tribune.

“There are a lot of people I can help with my story. That’s the whole purpose behind what I’m doing,” Hoppe said.

The 38-year-old father of four has survived a difficult entry to the world — doctors didn’t think he would make it past three days — a motorcycle accident and cancer.

“Curveballs are thrown at you in life,” Hoppe told the newspaper. “I’m a survivor.”

When Barnes, who makes a hands-on living with his company Muscle Tile, got the call from Johnson, aka “The Rock,” he was left temporarily speechless.

And then he found his voice, whooping and hollering into the phone.

Welbourn, 27, a server who lives in Colorado, has been around athletics all his life. His father, Jerry Welbourn, was an Olympic pole vaulter in the 1950s and in the 1970s, as a 40-year-old, he made the team as a canoer.

At 21, Rugloski is the youngest competitor. She lives in Houston, Texas.

She told the Houston Chronicle that she didn’t have an athletic background and only participated in her first obstacle course in 2016.

Applicants submitted a three-minute video of themselves and had to pass a fitness test that included a two-minute jump rope, holding a plank position for as long possible, and a series of push-ups and pull-ups.

The show will air at 7 p.m. Arizona time.

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