Then he attempted the same jump on July 28, 1967, in Graham, Washington, where he had his next serious crash. When he switched to the Triumph motorcycle, his jumpsuit changed to a white suit with stripes down the legs and sleeves. Throughout Kelly's and Robbie's adolescence, the boys performed at Knievel's stunt shows. On January 7 and 8, 1971, Knievel set the record by selling over 100,000 tickets to back-to-back performances at the Houston Astrodome. Maybe it’s because we just thought it’d be cool to build an Evel Knievel museum connected to one of the most iconic Harley-Davidson stores in the nation. Knievel promoted the motorcycle at his various public appearances. During their marriage, the couple had four children, two boys, Kelly and Robbie and two girls, Tracey and Alicia. While Knievel was healing from injuries sustained from the Chicago jump, the book Evel Knievel on Tour was released. Jump back to 1972, and a young Dave Stroop, back home in Montana from serving overseas After his conspicuous trek (he hitchhiked with a 54-inch-wide (1.4 m) rack of elk antlers and a petition with 3,000 signatures), he presented his case to Representative Arnold Olsen, Senator Mike Mansfield, and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. Knievel's original blueprints and handwritten notes about his desired museum are currently displayed at the Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum in downtown Miami, Oklahoma. Evel Knievel Museum Named a TOP 5 U.S. museum! After Evel's death, Kelly has overseen the Knievel legacy, including developing Knievel-related products and assisting Harley-Davidson to develop a museum exhibit. Knievel kept up his pursuit of the United States government to allow him to jump the Grand Canyon. Robert “Evel” Knievel was an American pop culture icon who made headlines from the mid ‘60s to the early ’80s for his daring motorcycle jumping and risk-taking attitude. Robert "Evel" Knievel, the motorcycle stuntman who reached the peak of his fame in the 1970's, built and lived in this 10-acre compound on the 16th hole of Butte Country Club in his hometown in Montana at the height of his career. Knievel broke his collarbone, suffered a compound fracture of his right arm, and broke both legs. Knievel also placed phone calls to Sarno claiming to be from American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and Sports Illustrated inquiring about the jump. Along with October comes Halloween and maybe Biketoberfest. He became a hero to a generation of young boys. During the same year, Knievel was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Mike Patterson owns a Topeka Harley-Davidson dealership that is being expanded to include a 16,000-square-foot area to house the Evel Knievel Museum, which he expects to open this year. What a great Father's Day Gift! Additionally, Ideal released non-Knievel-touring toys, including a Chopper Motorcycle, a Trail Bike, and a female counterpart, Derry Daring. He also had two strokes after 2005, but neither left him with severe debilitation.. After the birth of his first son, Kelly, Knievel realized that he needed to come up with a new way to support his family financially. After doing his normal pre-jump show and a few warm-up approaches, Knievel began his real approach. The 60-minute program Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel aired on December 23, 2007, less than a month after his death. , On July 10, 2010, a special temporary exhibit entitled True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel was opened at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He managed to hold on until the cycle hit the base of the ramp. 1937). , Knievel was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in his hometown of Butte, Montana on December 10, 2007, following a funeral at the 7,500-seat Butte Civic Center presided over by Pastor Dr. Robert H. Schuller with actor Matthew McConaughey giving the eulogy.  The wedding was held on November 19, 1999, on a special platform built on the fountains at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip (site of Evel's jump New Year's Eve 1967). The series, inspired by his popularity, featured stunt motorcyclists. A drag parachute deployed prematurely, and he drifted down into the canyon. One organization that Knievel regularly slammed for being drug dealers was the Hells Angels. Topeka, Kansas "He was a real-life superhero to a lot of people," said Mike Patterson, co-founder of the Evel Knievel Museum. At approximately the same time, Fanfare Films started production of Evel Knievel, a 1971 movie starring George Hamilton as Knievel. Knievel then used a Norton Motorcycle Company 750cc for only one year, 1966. Mountainview Cemetery, Butte, Montana, U.S. Surprising to many, the Evel Knievel Museum is not located in Butte, Montana (Knievel’s hometown); nor is it in Las Vegas, Nevada (the venue of his infamous Wide World of Sports Caesars Palace jump). After his army stint, Knievel returned to Butte, where he met and married his first wife, Linda Joan Bork. Knievel was a cousin of the former Democratic Congressman from Montana, Pat Williams (b. The motorcycle was not built to jump, but was rather a V-twin cruiser motorcycle intended to compete with Harley-Davidson street bikes. The following day, he appeared on stage with his son Robbie at Evel Knievel Days in Butte, marking the last performance in which the two appeared together.  His historic XR-750 is now part of the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Hot on the heels of his success at creating one-of-a-kind custom baggers at Dirty Bird Concepts in Phoenix, Arizona, motorcycle mastermind John Shope came up with the next great idea: the Dirtytail. Saltman later produced documents in both criminal and civil court that proved that, although Knievel claimed to have been insulted by statements in Saltman's book, he and his lawyers had actually been given editorial access to the book and had approved and signed off on every word prior to its publication. I'm through." Following the Confederate stars, Knievel adjusted the blue stripes to a V-shape (the first version of the V-shape was also used in the 1971 film's final jump). On January 31, 1977, Knievel was scheduled for a major jump in Chicago, Illinois. " (Both electromechanical and solid-state versions were produced. He guaranteed that if a hunter employed his service and paid his fee, he would get the big game animal desired or Knievel would refund his fee. "Evel Knievel ... may be the last great gladiator" is a quote from an article by David Lyle about Knievel that appeared in the January 1970 issue of Esquire magazine. Knievel jumped too late and the motorcycle hit him in the groin, tossing him 15 feet into the air. He set the date for Labor Day (September 4), 1972. Knievel, at the age of 29, used his own money to have actor/director John Derek produce a film of the Caesars jump. Later that year on the television show Happy Days, motorcycle-riding character Fonzie performed a similar trick, albeit on waterskis, inspiring the creation of the phrase "jump the shark.". , In 2003, Knievel signed over exclusive rights to Los Angeles composer Jef Bek, authorizing the production of a rock opera based on Knievel's life. Although he was originally scheduled to lead a benefit ride through Milwaukee, Knievel never rode the motorcycle because he suffered a mild (non-debilitating) stroke prior to the appearance and limited his visit to a signing session. Evel Knievel was one of the world's greatest motorcycle stunt performers. I'm gonna crash," and there's nothing you can do to stop it, not at all. American Eagle Motorcycles was the first company to sign Knievel to an endorsement deal.  Directed by Bat Boy co-creator Keythe Farley, the production opened in Los Angeles in September 2007 to some positive reviews. He was hospitalized as a result of his injuries. The distance he had for takeoff did not allow him to get up enough speed. During the late 1950s, Knievel joined the United States Army. Ironically, Evel had made it to the opposite rim, before the wind pushed him back to the other side. When the Czechoslovakian officials went to the box office to collect the expense money that the team was promised, workers discovered the game receipts had been stolen. It took numerous surgeries and permanent metal plates in his arm for Saltman to regain the use of his arm. Knievel has been the subject of five different films. The amusement park in Eureka, Missouri, outside of St. Louis, Missouri, opened the ride on June 20, 2008. The decision was then made to have Truax build the Skycycle X-2 and have it take off and fly more like a rocket than a motorcycle. On March 25, 1967, Knievel cleared 15 cars at Ascot Park in Gardena, California. A. J. Foyt made Knievel part of his pit crew for the Indianapolis 500 in 1970. Among the various artifacts from Knievel's life, the exhibit included his "Shark Jump" Harley-Davidson XR-750, the Skycycle X-2, a blue jumpsuit from late in his career without any sponsor patches, and his trademark "red, white and blue" jumpsuit complete with his helmet and walking stick.  Knievel eventually paid $2,500 to a U.S.-based insurance company.. The commercial depicts the RS5 being driven by a professional driver and jumping the canyon off a jump ramp. During the six years the toys were manufactured, Ideal claimed to have sold more than $125 million worth of Knievel toys. Between 1972 and 1977, Ideal Toy Company released a series of Evel Knievel-related merchandise, designed initially by Joseph M. Burck of Marvin Glass and Associates. In 1977, Evel made a guest spot on The Bionic Woman, where he played himself, getting inadvertently caught up in East German espionage while appearing in West Germany. . The exhibit was opened in collaboration with Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and Evel's oldest son, Kelly. To keep his name in the news, Knievel proposed his biggest stunt ever, a motorcycle jump across the Grand Canyon. On May 25, 1968, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Knievel crashed while attempting to jump 15 Ford Mustangs. However, after his 1977 conviction for the assault of Shelly Saltman, Harley-Davidson withdrew their sponsorship of Knievel. Knievel received several offers to host the show after their first performance. After the release of the Stunt Cycle, the Knievel toys were the best selling item for Ideal.. In 2010 Robbie announced he would recreate the jump. It is, in fact, in Topeka, Kansas.  He died of pulmonary disease in Clearwater, Florida, in 2007, aged 69. After the closure, Knievel went to work for Don Pomeroy at his motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. On the morning of the jump, Knievel stopped in the casino and placed his last $100 on the blackjack table (which he lost), stopped by the bar and had a shot of Wild Turkey, and then headed outside where he was joined by several members of the Caesars staff, as well as two showgirls. His retirement was once again short-lived, and Knievel continued to jump. In February 1999, Knievel was given only a few days to live and he requested to leave the hospital and die at his home. Both parents decided to leave Butte. A man of unabashed courage and brashness, he derived as much fame from the jumps he failed to make, and the injuries he sustained, as the many he completed. This literally was in a barn,” Lathan McKay, Evel Knievel Museum co-founder, said. Knievel was born on October 17, 1938, in Butte, Montana, the first of two children of Robert E. and Ann Marie Keough Knievel. [...] You're in the air for four seconds, you're part of the machine, and then if you make a mistake midair, you say to yourself, "Oh, boy. During the next four years, Ideal Toys released various models relating to Evel Knievel's touring stunt show. Between December 1969 and April 1970, Knievel used the Laverda American Eagle 750cc motorcycle. The driver's cabin is also restored, as is the storage space at the back of the truck, which currently houses Knievel’s original wooden ramps, as well as one of many original bikes the museum owns. :21, To help promote his team and earn some money, he convinced the Czechoslovakian Olympic ice hockey team to play the Butte Bombers in a warm-up game to the 1960 Winter Olympics (to be held in California). The cameraman was admitted to the hospital and received treatment for an injury near his eye, but received no permanent injury. The sudden loss of power on the takeoff caused Knievel to come up short and land on the safety ramp which was supported by a van. :21–22 Knievel tried out with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League in 1959, but decided that a traveling team was not for him.. Using the hunting and fishing skills taught to him by his grandfather, Knievel started the Sur-Kill Guide Service. He was no longer satisfied with just receiving free motorcycles to jump with. On July 27, 2006, he appeared on The Adam Carolla Show and discussed his health problems. With each successful jump, the public wanted him to jump one more car.  Although Knievel broke his arms, he was more distraught over what he claimed was a permanent eye injury to cameraman Thomas Geren.  Investors in the event took a substantial loss, including promoter Don E. Branker, as well as Vince McMahon of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation. He only broke his ankle. This time he suffered a serious concussion.  The toys included the original 1972 figures, which offered various outfits and accessories. Evel certainly dressed the part. His last stunt show, not including a jump, took place in March 1980 in Puerto Rico. Although Knievel never attempted to jump the Grand Canyon, rumors of the Canyon jump were started by Knievel himself in 1968, following the Caesars Palace crash. In one of his last interviews, Knievel told Maxim magazine: You can't ask a guy like me why I performed. ABC declined, but said that if Knievel had the jump filmed and it was as spectacular as he said it would be, they would consider using it later. It means 2020 is going to come to an end soon. "Evel Knievel was an original. – Baldwin County NOW – A Gulf Coast Information Source for South Alabama", Robbie Knievel Jumps Motorcycle 223 Feet Across Grand Canyon, "Remember $6 million Evel was flaunting? Knievel was ejected from the game minutes into the third period and left the stadium. Knievel would regularly share his anti-drug message, as it was another one of his core values.  However, this number could be exaggerated: his son Robbie told a reporter in June 2014 that his father had broken 40 to 50 bones; Knievel himself claimed he broke 35. His popularity, especially with young boys, was ever-increasing. This page was last edited on 24 January 2021, at 04:17. On December 12, 1970, Knievel would switch to the Harley-Davidson XR-750, the motorcycle with which he is best known for jumping. Though Knievel had no involvement, a 30-minute ABC Saturday morning animated series Devlin produced by Hanna-Barbera aired in the fall of 1974. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist, and both ankles, and a concussion that kept him in the hospital. While flying back to Butte from a performance tour, Knievel looked out the window and saw the Snake River Canyon. After his crash and recovery, Knievel was more famous than ever. The term was made popular in the 1971 movie Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton. Hide caption. With no income from jumping or sponsorship, Knievel eventually declared bankruptcy. Afterwards, Knievel retired from major performances and limited his appearances to smaller venues to help launch the career of his son, Robbie Knievel. Do me a favor. Robert Craig Knievel Jr. took the stage name Evel Knievel to perform stunts no one had imagined before. Knievel realized that to make any amount of real money he would need to hire more performers, stunt coordinators and other personnel so that he could concentrate on the jumps. Now open Sundays, too. 5, May 1988, Associated Press, "Christmas Is Year-Round Business for Toymakers", The Times-News, February 14, 1977, Associated Press, "And Then There's Evel Promoters Cashing In", The Evening Independent, August 15, 1974, Harbor, Phillip, "Audi Tries to Jump Snake River Canyon in Evel Knievel Tribute", CarBuzz, September 12, 2012, Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps, "Proof: Evel Knievel Tried Out With The Charlotte Clippers", "Hockey Has a Checkered History in the Queen City", "Evel Knievel, 69, Daredevil on a Motorcycle, Dies", "Evel Knievel's first jump on wide world of sport", "Evel Knievel: Triumph Over The Fountains At Caesars Palace", "Doug Danger Breaks Knievel's Record Daredevil jumps 22 cars at Sturgis, on Evel Knievel's 1972 Harley XR750", "Success! At the age of eight, Knievel attended a Joie Chitwood auto daredevil show, to which he gave credit for his later career choice as a motorcycle daredevil. Continue reading your story in the magazine, DISCOVER HIS MANY FACES – BIKER, BUILDER, REBEL, LOVER, MYSTIC, ARTIST, HERO IN INDIAN LARRY: CHOPPER SHAMAN, Seven Suicides - and they roared back as The Living Dead. This caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. As it turns out, half of Knievel’s crew was from Kansas, including Mike Draper (Wichita, Kansas). The term Last Gladiator was coined and attributed to Knievel circa 1971. But I beat the hell out of death.  Arum partnered with Invest West Sports, Shelly Saltman's company, to secure from Invest West Sports two things: first, the necessary financing for the jump, and second, the services of Saltman, long recognized as one of America's premier public relations and promotion men, to do publicity so that Knievel could concentrate on his jumps. Throughout his career and later life he would repeatedly talk about the importance of "keeping his word". The models included a Robbie Knievel doll, the Scramble Van, a Dragster, a Stunt Car, and the Evel Knievel The Stunt World.  The last item marketed by Ideal Toys before it discontinued the distribution of Knievel toys was the Strato-Cycle, based on the film Viva Knievel! I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. My Dad took my brother and I to see Evel Knievel at the old Kansas City International Raceway when we we're 8 & 5 or so. I want to be the first. Drawing over 100,000 visitors each year, the Evel Knievel Museum has become a huge success. Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, Knievel kicked off his career by starting a show where he impressed crowds with motorcycle tricks like wheelies and jumping a 20-foot box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Following Chitwood’s racing career, which included seven Indianapolis 500 races, the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show made a chance visit to Butte, Montana in 1953; 15-year-old Bobby Knievel was in the stands that day, and as they say, the rest was history. , The Caesars Palace crash was Knievel's longest attempted motorcycle jump at 141 feet (43 m). Despite landing short and his back wheel hitting the box containing the rattlesnakes, Knievel managed to land safely. When released, he returned to Barstow to finish the performance he had started almost a month earlier. To keep costs low, Derek employed his then-wife Linda Evans as one of the camera operators. Robbie jumped 196 feet in a tribute to his father on a much lighter motorcycle. In 2006, he had an internal morphine pain pump surgically implanted to help him with the excruciating pain in his deteriorated lower back, one of the costs of incurring so many traumas over the course of his career as a daredevil. In 1999, his son Robbie Knievel jumped a portion of the Grand Canyon owned by the Hualapai Indian Reservation.. In 1973, Ideal released the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. ft. to his dealership to establish the Museum. On October 9, 2005, Knievel promoted his last public "motorcycle ride" at the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership. Linda and Evel separated in the early 1990s and were divorced in 1997. The cycle and leathers used by Evel Knievel at his Kansas City International Speedway jump are on display at the Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kan. (Orlin Wagner / AP) KANSAS CITY, MO. In the movie, Hamilton (as Knievel) states, "I am the last gladiator in the new Rome. Knievel wanted to be paid to use and promote a company's brand of motorcycles. ", "McMahons' bankruptcy a murky chapter in her rags-to-riches tale", "Robbie Knievel hopes to jump Snake River Canyon", "40 Years Later And Gearing Up For Another Jump", "Eddie Braun does what Evel Knievel could not: make successful jump over Snake River Canyon", "Sharks don't hurt Evel, but retaining wall does", "Evel Knievel exhibit comes to Harley-Davidson Museum", "Tampabay: Knievel ordered to leave ex alone", "1970's Cultural Icon Evel Knievel Living in Constant Pain", "Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum", "Evel Knievel rides into town at head of traveling museum", "Evel Knievel's Life May Jump Into Opera", "Rock opera 'Knievel' soars through a rebel's life", "Theater Reviews By L.A. Weekly Theater Critics", "LA Times Report Rethemed Rides at Six Flags", "Evel Knievel Baptized at Crystal Cathedral; Rev. 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