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Risky Rick Cruz — United States
Cyclejumpers.com has featured jumpers who are know world-wide, nationally, regionally and now locally. Introducing Risky Rick Cruz. A locally known jumper and cycle jumping fan.
Longview, Texas 1985.
Rick's story began like many others, he was born October 28, 1962 in Texas. Rick heard of Evel Knievel while in San Marcos, Texas in 1971. Rick and his older brother went to the movie theater for the Saturday matinee and for the third weekend in a row, his older brother wanted to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! No sooner that they got to the theater, the Willy Wonka poster was gone and there was another movie advertisement in it's place. They walked forward and Rick saw the motorcycle.....and pointed with a grin ear-to-ear and said, "I WANNA SEE THAT ONE"! His brother tried to talk him into the another movie, but Rick insisted on watching, "Evel Knievel" starring George Hamilton. As soon as Rick got home, he wanted to be Evel Knievel and started trying to jump things on his bicycle.
Hallsville, Texas 1990.
Rick soon was grounded by his Dad from riding his bicycle, so one day after school he asked my Mom if he could ride her bicycle because his was torn-up. She wasn't paying attention and shrugged him off with a "Yes go on, I'm cooking", so off he went and BAM! Rick got hit by a car and as the ambulance raced to hospital, his Dad met him at the hospital and all's was ok till he got home, then all his Mom could do was tell him "THE NEXT" time you ground him tell me about it! Rick's Dad looked at him and stared. Rick said he wasn't riding HIS BIKE! The years that follow would include Rick trying to set the neighborhood record for trash cans or distance and he must have destroyed every bicycle he got his hands on.
Rick moved up to motorcycles and got a Hodaka 100 Wombat and basically destroyed that as well. So when he reached 15 yrs old, he was out in the world with his pregnant wife. Yes married at 15! His Mother couldn't handle him being a daredevil so as long as he was going to act big, then she didn't want to stand in his way and she signed a consent form to allow Rick to marry.
Longview, Texas 1988.
Rick finally got another motorcycle at 18 or 19 yrs old and started trying to do wheelies. With a child on the way, his daredevil career would take a back seat to life. It would be six or seven years later before he started doing stunts and this time NOTHING was going to stop him. He was 25 and he would meet the mother of his daughters Raven Nicole and Scarlet Renee. But as luck would have it she was married before Rick met her and her ex-husband would lose a leg in a motorcycle wreck that killed his brother. NOW she met an aspiring motorcycle daredevil, Rick would try and jump everything—creeks, ditches, fire, people any and everything. It was then he met Richard "Evel" Schmidt Evel Knievel's God-Son and they were talking about a name and most people knew him as Richard Cruz. Being a motorcycle daredevil jumper is risky......thus Risky Rick was born. A lot of what Rick did wasn't filmed and not having a camera he didn't think much about it until he watched Evel, Robbie, Gary Wells ,Rex Blackwell, Evil Cheesy, Super Joe Einhorn and "The Flying Angel" Debbie Lawler on television.
Rick did jumps for church groups in 1990's, for under privileged kids to get them involved with T.A.S.K. (Teens Against Satanic Cults). Rick did the first ever Hallsville Hot Hop as well and then Mayor Tex Hatley came to the jump and told everyone in the surrounding city they didn't have anything like this. Rick had an article in The Hallsville Herald and he got a call from a local Honda dealership asking if he would do a jump at local race track. That was the same time Robbie Knievel was jumping Caesars Palace so Rick went to Vegas. When he got back, the jump was cancelled.
Spanky Spangler, Rick, Robbie Knievel — 2000 | Robbie and Rick
Now with two daughters in college, Rick is entering back into the cyclejumpers world and at 49 yrs old he hopes to do what Evel said after his jump at King's Island, "to put on shows and not get hurt anymore" Rick has jumped 110' on a XL 125cc Honda and plans to do wheelies as an opening act. He's worked with most of the big names in the Cyclejumping World and the Auto-Daredevil world. He also has The Ricksonian Daredevil Museum. The museum houses 41 years of daredevil memorabilia and each year he awards The Ricksonian Daredevil Museum Award to these performers as a way of saying Thank You. The 2011 award went to The Flying Angel Debbie Lawler.
Left: Bob Gill, Trigger Gumm, Rick, Mini Mad Mike Cook and Gene Sullivan.
On one of Evel's bikes | Ramping building for Robbie Knievel
Rick at Evel's gravesite. | Rick and Big Ed Beckley at "The Ricksonian" in Hallsville, Texas (Feb. 2012)
Ed checking out the book, "Evel Ways" | Ed and Rick at the Mesquite Rodeo Arena Feb, 4, 2012.
Doug Danger with his 2012 Ricksonian Daredevil Museum Award. | Trigger Gumm with his 2013 Award.
Thanks Rick for the use of the photos and biography.