Evel Knievel’s Most Outrageous Stunt Finally Executed Successfully
You may have seen Jesse James' recent post about "Five of the Most Famous People Born in Montana." One of those people was a motorcycle daredevil from Butte, Montana, who 42 years ago, came up with the most outrageous stunt he could think of…a jump over the mile-wide Snake River Canyon near the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel was a patriotic man, always wearing red, white, and blue for his jumps. He attempted more than 300 motorcycle stunts in his career…jumping the fountain at Caesar’s Palace, a jump over 13 busses at Wembley Stadium (which resulted in a nasty crash, just one of many bad crashes…in fact Evel still holds the Guinness World Record for the most broken bones—433—in a lifetime), a successful jump over 14 busses in Ohio in 1975, and an unsuccessful jump in 1976 over a tank of sharks in Chicago (where a cameraman was also injured and lost an eye) to officially end his career.
The scene at the Snake River Canyon jump in 1974 was quite the spectacle. It was intended to be a weekend festival with thousands of people showing up. And the people did come, but it was definitely not a “family-friendly” event, with the Hell’s Angel’s attending, people running around naked, smoking pot, drinking…they even turned over a beer truck, stealing all the beer inside, and pushing over and burning all the “port-a-potties” (sounds to me like they didn’t think that one through!).
Unfortunately, the Snake River Canyon jump was unsuccessful, due to a malfunction of the steam-powered Skycycle X-2 Evel was piloting. The parachute deployed prematurely, which was a design flaw, not Evel’s fault, as was reported at the time.
Three years ago, Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun decided he wanted to recreate the jump, albeit from a location 8 miles east of Knievel’s attempt, not only because Knievel was Braun’s childhood hero, but also to set an example for his children that you can attempt the impossible, just be smart about it.
The steam-powered rocket Braun piloted was designed by engineer Scott Truax, the son of the man who built Knievel’s rocket. In an attempt to avoid throngs of people showing up, they changed the time of the jump several times, and were also flexible regarding the attempt because of the weather. On Friday, they did it. The rocket launched about 2,000 feet into the air at about 430 miles per hour. And as a former Knievel crew member said, Knievel’s thought on the jump would have been “I hope you made a lot of money.”
More about Knievel's Life: http://evelknievel.com/the-man/
Snake River Canyon Jump, then and now: http://evelknievel.com/866-2/
Suggested watching: Being Evel; I Am Evel Knievel