By Jordie Lindley
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
He was the first freshman to win the Ben Hogan award, earned the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's top freshman, and was named to the Ping All-America first team.
People would think with this much dedication to be so successful at his sport, Oklahoma State sophomore Rickie Fowler wouldn’t have much time for anything else besides golf.
Fowler has been an avid motocross fan since he was 3-years-old and has also been riding his own bike since that time. He grew up around the sport and followed in father's footsteps.
“My dad grew up riding and racing,” Fowler said.
With motocross being a completely different sport from golf, Fowler gets a rush from taking his machine into "space."
“Being in the air and when you are riding it is like nothing else matters,” Fowler said. “You forget about everything and just ride. It's just you and the bike.”
After growing up around motocross, Fowler made good connections and good friends.
“I now have a lot of good friends who race for a living so I am in touch with the sport through them,” Fowler said.
Being a student, one of the best young golfers in America, doing motocross, and keeping a social life can be a challenge. Fowler stays focused on what is ahead of him at all times.
“It’s important to keep good time management skills,” he said.
Fowler has many favorite moments during his motocross career, but one thing always sticks out in his mind.
“Riding and racing with my friends is the best part,” he said.
Fowler knows the risk of motocross and he has the injuries to prove it.
“I have broken my tibia, blown out my knee, and broken my right foot in three spots,” he said. "The tibia was when I was a little kid and then the knee and foot was when I was 15.”
Even with the injuries he has endured, Fowler still has a passion for the sport just like his favorite motocross rider Jeremy McGrath.
Because of his career in golf, his riding has changed over the years.
“When I do ride these days it's not as serious and more just play riding,” Fowler said.
Last season as a freshman, Fowler was the medalist in the Big 12 Championships. This season, he finished fifth as the Cowboys captured another team title. In 30 rounds this season, Fowler averaged 72.07, less than a stroke (0.73) over par.
Fowler knows that golf is his number one priority right now, but still likes to ride from time to time. The golf coaches at OSU are not fond of his passion for motocross, but understand that he has a hobby that he loves.
“(Golf coach Mike) McGraw gets mad from time to time, but he knows that riding is one of the reasons that I am the type of golfer I am today,” Fowler said. “So he can't be too upset.”
While his golf coaches know about his passion, his teammates would be surprised what Fowler does in his free time.
“None of my friends on the golf team ride, and none of them have seen me ride either,” Fowler said. “I think they would be a little surprised if they did though.”