Remember to check your email and phone calls and check them again to make sure it’s the real thing.

That happened to Battle Mountain’s Devin Huhta, who has had one goal in mind the past few years, and that was to be chosen for the USA Paralympics. 

After missing out on the call a couple years ago, he got one in January that he was not expecting and at first didn’t believe it was real.

“I am not a primary email communication kind of guy,” Huhta said. “I got a call from the Paralympic news and media crew and they wanted to talk to me about getting chosen for the USA Paralympic team. I was like, you know something I don’t. I haven’t heard anything for four months and thought time had passed again. I was depressed; anything would have been better than being left in the dark.”

Eventually, Huhta got a hold of the writer and they started talking and he was asked how he was doing and asked how he was getting ready and prepped for Paris.   

“I was like dude, as far as I know, I am not even on the team,” Huhta said. “The writer was like, if anything comes up let me know and we will talk.” 

A couple days after the call, Huhta said he was reading scriptures as he usually does to start his day. As he was going over his email through a voice program, there was a message that he had been offered a spot on the national team.

“Me being me, I go ‘whatever, this is junk mail’,” he said, saying he thought someone was messing with him. “I forwarded it to my wife and she was like, ‘no honey, this is the real deal.’ It was still surreal a couple weeks later. It’s how my life goes. It’s feast or famine.”    

He will be eligible for the World Championships this summer and the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, France. He was told that they would only take 45 athletes from the track and field team to Paris but he is confident that he will qualify to throw in Paris.  

Huhta is legally blind, with less than 10% vision and also throws the discus, but puts most of his focus on the shot put. 

“I am not totally blind and have some functional vision left,” he said. “It’s like looking through straws. There are like islands and I can wave my hand in front of my face and I will not see it at times. At night, you look up to see the stars and I don’t see any of them anymore.”

Huhta is one of the top shot put throwers in the United States and the world in his class. 

“I really don’t train that much on the discus, I focus on shot put more,” Huhta said in an interview last year. “In 2020 they were not doing discus and last year was a kind of a repeat of Covid from the year before, they weren’t still doing discus, so I focused everything on throwing the shot put.”

Huhta gave up his driver’s license in 2016 and had to give up the job he had at the mine. He said it all worked out and now he gets to spend much of his time training and spending it with his kids.

Shortly after those life changes in 2016, Huhta began his training, but had setback when he blew out his L4 disk in his back. 

“I never had surgery or anything,” Huhta said. “I stopped lifting weights and sat around for about 6 months and got better to where I could get back to the gym. In December of 2018 it got to the point of where I couldn’t sit or stand for 10 minutes at a time. It was pretty agonizing. I would take three pills in the morning and three more at night.”

As of now, Huhta said he is doing well health-wise, saying as he ages he is focused on ways to train better but not harder.

Huhta says he is in the shot put ring about once a week and is working on footwork and technique drills. Right now, he says he comfortably surpasses the qualifying mark for Paris.

Huhta plans on competing at UC Davis in the next couple months and the Desert Games at the end of May in Mesa, Ariz.

“Being in the middle of nowhere, it’s hard to find track meets to go to,” Huhta said. “Everything is 5-6 hours away and after Covid it is invite only. Doing this is more mental than anything. I have had meets where I am in the zone. There are other meets where I warm up good and get in the competition and start forcing things and I don’t know what I am supposed to do in the ring. If there is a chink in my armor, it’s my mental focus at times. You have to find that razor’s edge of I want to tear someone’s head off but I have to be relaxed for my body to do what it needs to do.”

If you would like to help sponsor Huhta or help with expenses on his way to Paris you can contact him at (775) 455-5546.