The idea of being born into the sport of boomeranging outside of its native Australia may seem unlikely, but that’s exactly how Logan Broadbent — the 2019 U.S. National Boomerang Champion and “American Ninja Warrior’s” “Boomerang Ninja” — got his start.
“In fifth grade, my dad wrote a report on Australia and found out about boomerang,” explains Broadbent, who is based in Cleveland. “He got a boomerang for Christmas that year and it didn’t work, so he made it his mission — a bit of an obsession. He became a motivational speaker and built and sold boomerangs.”
The younger Broadbent shares his dad’s passion.
“It’s not a full-time career (yet),” he says. “But I’ve taken the competition of it to the next level and created some exposure for the sport through YouTube and social media.”
He’ll bring his boomerang trick shots to Pennzoil’s AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway Friday and Saturday, when he’ll perform three shows daily.
While he still holds a day job as a sales rep for General Electric, Broadbent competes globally in both boomerang competitions and obstacle-course races. In the U.S., he’s become the face of the sport, collaborating on trick-shot videos with the Harlem Globetrotters, N.C.-based BMX rider Daniel Dhers, and venerable YouTube trick-shot giant Dude Perfect. His video with the Texas-based sport entertainment group has received almost 70 million views.
That number floors Broadbent, who didn’t even have his own YouTube channel when he filmed the Dude Perfect episode.
“I went to Texas and filmed that video in a couple of days. Everything changed from there,” he says. “It’s not necessarily what we do in boomerang competition, but it can get people hooked on the idea of trying out the sport.”
It wasn’t Broadbent’s first experience with mainstream viewers. He made his “American Ninja Warrior” debut four years ago — thanks in part to his unique boomerang backstory — and came to be known as the “Boomerang Ninja.”
He was an All-American diver in high school, and now is a rock climber and an endurance athlete who participates in triathlons and Spartan races; so “Ninja Warrior” wasn’t a huge stretch physically. In fact, it actually combined both his boomerang skills and his experience as an endurance athlete.
“I do really well on the balance obstacles,” he says. “I’m light on my feet. The ones that require grip strength, like the Cliff Hanger — that’s why I got more into rock climbing. Grip strength isn’t something you’d normally work on. The Salmon Ladder is no problem. The Warped Wall is no problem. Rolling Thunder has knocked me out of competitions before.”
His obstacle-course experience has pushed him toward competing in that realm as well. Last weekend in London, he finished 13th (out of 89) in the 15K at the OCR World Championships.
With the popularity of obstacle racing comes sponsorships, which may eventually allow him to step away from his day job. But even then he’ll probably continue to fulfill web orders for boomerangs out of his Cleveland home.
“At this point,” Broadbent says, “I’m not sure which is my side gig.”
When: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. (Broadbent performs at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.)
Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S., Concord.
Tickets: $13 daily, or $32 for three-day pass; free for kids 13 and younger.
Details: 800-455-FANS; www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.