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Rucker lives to ride and dive


Bill Rucker still holds on tight to his enjoyment of scuba diving and motorcycles, more than a decade after a bike accident in the Rocky Mountains cost him his left leg. Rucker, adjunct professor of exercise & sports studies, compares his experience in the water with how he believes birds feel while in flight. And being on a motorcycle, he says, is “exactly the same feeling.” But riding has come with a heavy price: On day 21 of a 22-day tour of national parks in 2004, Rucker and his wife Laura were coming down a curve in the road when he looked up to see a car dead ahead. “I really didn’t have anywhere to go,” Rucker said. “I had enough time to tell my wife, hold on tight.” Blocking the impact for Laura, Rucker flew more than 40 feet, shattered his femur and blew out his hip. A few days later, he was told that gangrene meant he would lose the leg. His only concern, he said, was his ability to dive and continue running his business. Even though he is an amputee, Rucker finds no excuse not to continue to ride and dive. Using a prosthetic leg, Rucker finds ways to dive with his gear and has learned to shift gears on the road. “Bill is like a manatee,” said Wesleyan student Ben Hebron, describing Rucker’s movement in the water. “He is so consistent and so fluid, he just goes.” When it comes to his motorcycles, Rucker continues to be “El Jefe,” a nickname his employees have given him. Rucker said riding and diving are two of the greatest enjoyments in his life. “Being in a place where there is no one else around, you’re somewhere where you want to be,” he said. “Your mind just wanders.” Becoming interested in scuba diving and riding at the age of 12, Rucker has learned how to coordinate both interests into his life. Earning his teaching certificate for scuba diving in his mid-20s, he knew he wanted to purse a degree in teaching to show others his passion for diving. “It’s such an amazing feeling to be weightless and moving along and it was just really an amazing feeling,” he said. Rucker was CEO of American Ironhorse Motorcycle Company from 1995 to 2005, according to his Linkedin page. He sold the company and founded a new company, Rucker Performance, and continues to customize personal choppers and bikes to a variety of clients, including celebrities and politicians. After spending time with his family and teaching them diving techniques, Rucker made his way to Texas Wesleyan University where he brought back scuba with a whole new perspective several years ago. He made scuba not only a class, but a minor students can earn. At the same time, he still loves riding. “It’s very liberating to have the air in your face. Your kind of part, one of the environments,” Rucker said.

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    JenniferDec 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Love this article…what a great story to share and a great example to set!
    Thanks for sharing!

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Rucker lives to ride and dive