Photo Of The Day

In 1974, Knievel hoped to complete a jump across the Snake River Canyon, but he wasn't going to use a motorcycle to do it. Instead, he had a rocket-propelled vehicle called the Skycycle X-2  to make it over the gap, and only a parachute ensured a safe landing.

In 1974, Knievel hoped to complete a jump across the Snake River Canyon, but he wasn’t going to use a motorcycle to do it. Instead, he had a rocket-propelled vehicle called the Skycycle X-2 to make it over the gap, and only a parachute ensured a safe landing.

Pure Evel: An American Legend

On September 8, 1974, with much media fanfare, daredevil Evel Knievel tried and failed to leap the mile-wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon on his specially engineered rocket motorcycle. His drogue parachute malfunctioned and opened on take-off. Evel and his contraption floated to the bottom of the canyon, landing on the riverbank directly below his launch ramp (If he’d gone into the river, his safety harness probably would have drowned him). It was a less-than-auspicious milestone for Evel and the city of Twin Falls, but Evel’s fans loved him for at least trying.

At the city’s visitors center, just south of the Perrine Bridge over the canyon, some of Knievel’s supporters have erected a monument to their hero with a carved likeness of the rocket motorcycle.

It’s engraved, “Robert ‘Evel’ Knievel: Explorer, Motorcyclist, and Daredevil. Attempted a mile-long leap of the Snake River Canyon on September 8, 1974 employing a unique Skycycle.  The large dirt ramp is visible approx 2 miles east of this point on the south ridge of the canyon. Donated to the community by Sunset Memorial.”

The actual jump site — a big earthen lump — is indeed visible in the distance from the marker. We would not advise visiting it. At last report the Twin Falls Police Department was using it as the backstop for their shooting range.

In less than a decade, Evel Knievel took motorcycle jumping from its sideshow origins to unthinkable heights of popularity that still resonate today – while breaking nearly every bone in the process. Knievel redefined what it meant to be an American daredevil. He is reported to have described himself as “the last gladiator in the new Rome.”

Born Robert Craig Knievel in the mining town of Butte, Montana, Evel Knievel was lauded worldwide for his daring feats. He is the Guinness World Record Holder for the most broken bones – over 433 fractures received in over 20 crashes throughout his career.

In 1965 he formed a troupe called Evel Knievel’s Motorcycle Daredevils, but hit the big time as a solo performer in 1967 with his much-publicized jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The accident left him with a fractured skull and broken pelvis, hips and ribs.

Driven by ego and fearlessness, he had a haunting ambition to succeed at any price. To the public, Knievel was an American hero and dedicated husband and father. But behind-the-scenes, there was a much darker and violent side. “He would tell kids – study, go to school, get good grades, treat your mom and dad right,” said motorcycle racing legend Skip Van Leeuwen, who was friends with Knievel. “Two hours later, he’d be chasing 15 girls naked around his boat. It was nuts.”

Knievel wasn’t simply just a stunt man. He became an American brand; inspiring countless entertainers, a line of toys and even a Marvel Comic.

When he retired in 1980, he told reporters that he was “nothing but scar tissue and surgical steel.”

Knievel passed away in 2007 at the age of 69.

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/pure-evel/evel-knievel-bio.htm


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