NFL reporter Jonathan Jones asks 10 questions of Carolina Panthers tight end Ben Hartsock:
Q. So youre a big fan of motocross, did you know the X Games had Charlotte as a finalist for the 2014-16 summer games?
A. Yes. I read that. Is it happening for sure?
Q. No. It was awarded to Austin.
A. Oh. Bummer. Being in Charlotte Ive gotten to know the motocross race team with Joe Gibbs. Ive gotten to meet a handful of racers, theyre all about this tall but theyre cowboys. Theyre crazy.
Q. Have you have done it?
A. Ive ridden and I enjoy riding. I dont do it during the season but yeah. If I was the size of a jockey thats probably what Id try to do.
Q. Do you own bikes?
A. Yeah. Just one dirt bike and a four-wheeler for my wife and kids to ride around.
Q. Do you do that in Charlotte?
A. No, down in Georgia. We have some land in Georgia that we ride on.
Q. How much land do you have down there?
A. 10 acres. I grew up on a farm in Ohio so I grew on a couple hundred acres so space was something we needed.
Q. Did you guys have any animals?
A. We were a grain farm so we grew up around corn, soybeans, tractors. We had animals, 4H projects, I raised sheep and my brother raised steers. We were around animals. My sister had a horse. It was a great way to grow up. I loved it.
Q. When did you first operate a plow?
A. A plow, I dont know. I was mowing with our lawnmower by 7 or 8 years old and I was in a tractor the size of a small building by probably 10 or 11. That was the way of life. You just start chipping in at a young age and youre around your dad a lot and it was a great deal.
Q. Does that ever leave you or is it always engrained in you?
A. No it doesnt, and it was a wonderful way to grow up. We wanted to have a little property for our kids to grow up on and I have a tractor for our kids at the house. Were not growing crops or anything, but my kids enjoy riding with me on the tractor and when they get of the right age theyll be out there mowing the grass and doing things that go along with owning property.
Q. Did you ever throw big parties in high school with all the land?
A. You mean like all the ones in country music videos? No unfortunately not. I was more low-key than a Jason Aldean video, I guess.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less