Seymour High School juniors share love of ATVs, motocross


During the daytime, you’ll find Cole Johnson, Arie Hiester and Daniel Peters going from class to class at Seymour High School.

In the evenings, there’s a good chance you will see the three juniors buzzing and flying around a dirt track near Uniontown.

That’s where Johnson and Peters practice for their next all-terrain vehicle race and Hiester gears up for a motocross competition.

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Growing up, all three tried different sports. In recent years, though, ATV or motocross racing has been their sole focus.

“Lots of adrenaline,” Johnson said of what he likes about the sport. “Racing is more of like an individual, family sport. Football, your whole team kind of has to do their own share, but in racing, it’s all you. You put the work into it, and that’s how you do.”

Hiester also likes the adrenaline rush.

“I went through all of the sports (growing up), and nothing grabbed my attention,” he said. “(Motocross) is like an escape, really. It’s something to get your mind away from everything else.”

Peters said he used to be heavily involved in football and played a year in high school before stepping away. He also used to do track and field, but a back injury ended that.

“I’ve never heard of a rain delay in this sport,” he said, smiling. “Whatever conditions it is, we’re racing. It’s just fun. You’re basically just pushing yourself going as fast as you can. It’s just kind of like a danger thing almost. You’re pushing the line. It’s like a thrill, and it’s just awesome at the same time, and you’ve got to put the work in.”

Johnson said he started riding four-wheelers when he was 3, but he didn’t go the racing route until 10 years later.

“I’ve loved it ever since,” he said. “It was hard at first. It took a couple of years to really get into it before I could actually do pretty good in a race. It takes a lot of riding and practice.”

Peters said his father got him a dirt bike at a young age, and he has been riding bikes and ATVs for most of his life. He didn’t start racing until about four years ago, he said.

Johnson and Peters both compete in the IXCR Racing series, which has around 30 races from February to October in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Most races involve seeing how many laps you can do on an 8-mile loop through the woods in two hours.

Every track being different makes it interesting, Johnson said.

“You can’t practice them,” he said. “You just go out there and hope for the best.”

Johnson said he currently is second in the points standings out of about 80 racers in his class.

Peters is in the same class, and he said for the most part, it’s friendly competition.

“There are a few people who take it real seriously, but a lot of the racers are normally friendly to each other,” he said.

Hiester said he didn’t start riding dirt bikes until he was 13.

“I had a buddy, Charles Lucas, invite me out one time,” he said. “I came out and rode them, and I just loved it. Ever since then, I got hooked.”

At 14, he began racing competitively in the Kentuckiana MX Championship Series, which also has races in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Hiester said motocross is more of a sprint sport. It’s all on a dirt track with jumps and loops.

“I’ve gotten a win and a lot of seconds and thirds,” he said. “I’m trying to improve.”

The three teens appreciate having the opportunity to practice on a track close to home.

“It’s good for us to be able to get practice in, and we’re having a good time while we’re at it,” Peters said. “We’re not traveling two hours to go ride somewhere. We’re going 15 minutes from my house or (Johnson) lives here. We’re riding and hanging out and having a good time at the same time, so it’s a good mixture.”

Hiester said it’s good bonding time.

“I’d say this is one of the tightest sports for families,” he said. “I haven’t seen a sport like this bond with each other.”

The track is behind the home of Dana Johnson, who is Cole’s father.

“I just think it’s a good sport that they can hang out with their buddies like they do and the family atmosphere that it brings, a lot more so than traditional sports,” Dana said.

Cole’s mother, Jill Johnson, said she has a love-hate relationship with the sport.

“As a mom, it makes me so nervous, but I see that they love it so much,” she said. “I get excited watching them do it but then very nervous at the same time.”

The boys plan to stay with the sport for as long as they can.

“As long as my body can handle it,” Cole said.

“I plan on racing for a good long time,” Peters said.

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Check out pictures and videos of Cole Johnson, Daniel Peters and Arie Hiester on Instagram at


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