60 Minutes II, part II

Published April 15th, 2003





The CBS News program 60 Minutes II is airing a segment on off-road motorcycling. As you might know, I was one of many people interviewed for the segment. If you’d like to see some photos from my interview, you can check out this link.



Below is the letter I sent to Jim Stewart after our interview:









Jim Stewart

CBS News / 60 Minutes II

New York, New York





Dear Jim,



I would like to thank you very much for the time we spent together in California for your 60 Minutes II program. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that much fun in an interview. It was challenging, exhilarating, and exciting working with a professional such as you.



I would like to share more info with you, and expand on some of the issues we talked about regarding supercross and motocross.



When I retired from professional racing at age 26, I was blessed to be financially secure, and support my family and others. I work now with my schools and web magazine to help others, to set a good example for my kids, and keep going after things that challenge me.



After racing, and with the financial support it gave me, I was able to stay at home and be a full time father to my three children. I was, and am, an active part of their lives. I’m thankful that my children have both a father and mother at home. And I’m thankful to racing, and all the people that supported me, to be able to do that.



Racing allowed someone like me, who was an underachiever in school, to travel the world, and experience things in life that most people only dream of. I always strived to have a good work ethic, and be the best I could be, physically and mentally. I followed my heart and my dreams, was able to compete to the best of my ability, and entertain fans at the same time.



As I mentioned to you in our interview, I watched my father work hard every day as a painter. And with the rigors of his job, sometimes he would struggle physically just to get out of bed in the morning. My racing career enabled me to put my father in a position to retire at age 60. He’s able to enjoy life more now, rather than working hard every day as he did since he was a kid. For me, as a son, to be able to pass on financial support to my parents means a lot to me.



Thru motorcycling, my father and I have grown closer together now as adults. We ride our Harleys to the beach, and talk about many things, both important and not-so-important. For many fathers and sons, motorcycling is the common denominator in their lives.



With any professional sport, from baseball to soccer to supercross, injuries are part of competing at the highest level. No one ever made me do anything I didn’t want to do, so I’m responsible for the injuries I’ve had over my career. It was my choice to be pushing the edge. It’s the same whether it’s Dale Earnhardt, Joe Montana, or Muhammad Ali.



With my kids, I want very much for them to enjoy motorcycling, but only if it’s something they desire to do. I feel the same way about them racing – if only to learn so many important life lessons. Do I wish for them to become professional racers? That’s up to them to decide when they are able, not me. But I do know that no matter what, if you become a professional athlete, and strive to be the best, you need to push that envelope. And chances are you will deal with injury.



The sport has given me so many life experiences. And the ‘funnest’ thing I’ve ever done (with my clothes on) in my life is ride a motorcycle with my family and friends. Riding brings back the child in me. In a way, I’m still like that little boy that has all those big dreams.



The point I’m trying to make is that the sport has been very much a positive for me, and for my family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.



I wish you continued success in the future, and thanks again for the great opportunity!







Rick Johnson



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