Meet The Motocross Legend Who Rode A Dirt Bike In 100+ Degrees Temperatures With A Bunny Head On For A Truck Commercial
If you’ve watched TV over the past couple months, you’ve probably caught the commercial for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. It’s a Michael Bay-esque fever-dream of stunts: Dirt bike riders crisscrossing over a fleet of trucks as they tear through the desert, complete with explosions and a guy in a bunny head. The entire sequence was conducted in one epic take. You know, this one:
What you probably don’t know is that the commercial is stacked with talent from the stuntman and motocross world. One of the main “stars” of the commercial is Ricky Johnson, a seven-time AMA Motocross Championship winner. He’s the rider doing wheelies with the bunny head on.
I had the chance to talk to Ricky about the shoot and what it was like to ride through the desert in 100+ degree temperatures with a bunny head. But before we get into our conversation, here’s another view of the commercial via a GoPro POV:
BroBible: Tell us a little bit about that crazy commercial shoot for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. You’re the guy on the dirt bike with the bunny head?
Ricky Johnson: We didn’t know who was going do what. There were bike riders and truck racers and everybody was out there. It was a really, really stacked cast with people like David Barrett –– pro motocross racer and the producer and director of Blue Bloods — to motocross legends like Mike Johnson and Ronnie Renner and SAG stuntmen Riley Harper, Dave Castillo and Eddie Braun. Then it was me with the bunny head…
So, good or bad, I wasn’t cast for the guy in the bunny head. I have a huge head but it’s not that big. So everyone on the set was a pretty skilled rider and they said, “Hey Rick, why don’t you wear the bunny head?” At first I thought “Ok, no problem…” But then I put it on and it was about 117 degrees out there in the desert so there wasn’t a lot of air getting to my head.
…And I can only see out the mouth port, so I put it on with a bicycle helmet underneath and I wore sunglasses since I couldn’t have goggles on when I had the bunny hat on. So I just took it upon myself… I started in the back and I couldn’t see, so I just rode my way to the front and pulled a couple wheelies.
I didn’t know if they’d like it or not because they want to make sure you don’t ride past the star vehicle, which is the Toyota Tacoma. In the stunt business, they say no news is good news, so if you try something and they don’t yell at you for doing it, you keep doing it. You don’t ask to change and if they don’t say “who’s the jackass in the bunny hat? Quit doing that…” then you’re doing your job.
So I did a couple wheelies and then I did some more. So it worked out the right place at the right time.