"I've always wanted to do something bigger than myself for this incredible sport. Now I'm getting the opportunity," Dungey tells PEOPLE

By Rose Minutaglio
January 07, 2016 05:05 PM
General Mills

Hunky motorcycle racer Ryan Dungey has been selected as the first ever motocross rider to grace the iconic Wheaties cereal box.

The 26-year-old Belle Plaine, Minnesota, native is joining a long list of great athletes such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, who have both appeared on the box – and he couldn’t be more excited.

“I have two brothers and we grew up eating the cereal, always joking around that we’d be on the front one day!” Dungey, a Monster Energy Supercross Champion, tells PEOPLE while laughing. “And look at me now! I’m giddy, it’s such an honor.”

Ryan Dungey

Nicknamed “The Diesel,” Dungey has won every motocross title possible and hopes to bring attention to his beloved sport with his growing recognition.

“Motocross is a relatively young, unknown sport,” says the rider. “I’ve always wanted to do something bigger than myself for this incredible sport. Now I’m getting the opportunity to bring attention to motocross!”

Dungey, who resides in Tallahassee, Florida, took home the Best Male Action Sports Athlete award at the 2015 ESPYS in July, alongside Caitlyn Jenner, who was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and Serena Williams, who was recognized as Best Female Tennis Player.

Ryan Dungey

The thrill-seeker says motocross, although not a “mainstream sport,” is one of the most fascinating and visually stimulating sporting events a fan can attend.

“You get hooked on motocross after going to one race,” he explains. “You see us flying through the air at high speeds, going through obstacles. It’s exciting and thrilling in a way no other sport is. You never know what’s going to happen.”

“Some people go, ‘Oh that’s so dangerous and stupid!’ ” says Dungey. “But I’m not dumb about racing, I’ve done it my whole life and I know what I m doing. I’m aggressive, but smart too.”

After a pause, the superstar athlete adds, “You have to be. But what’s life without a little risk?”

Ryan Dungey

Surprisingly, Dungey says he is not a daredevil by nature.

“I have to say that I’m not courageous in everything,” admits Dungey. “My wife tries to make me go on rollercoasters and I’ll go, but I really honestly don’t like it.”

Dungey, who married Lindsay Dungey in November 2014, says his wife is his “number one fan and supporter.”

“She’s been there for me through thick and thin,” he says. “It’s hard because I know she worries about me getting injured or getting into a crash.”

Dungey says he and his wife have decided to wait until he is done with his racing career to start a family.

“I can’t wait to have kids,” Dungey says excitedly. “I want them now, but I’d like to be able to settle down and devote all my time to my family when the time is right.”

The champion also says he “wouldn’t mind” if his passion for motocross is passed down to any future children.

“My two brothers and my dad raced every weekend,” he says. “If there was one thing that kept us close and out of trouble, it was racing. My relationship with my dad is really strong because of this sport. I would love to share that with my kid one day.”