Evel Knievel jumps Snake River Canyon September 8, 1974   Leave a comment


All my life people have been waiting around to watch me die.
Evel Knievel

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) EVEL KNIEVEL

Robert “Evel” Knievel was born in Butte, Montana, and saw his first motorcycle stunt show at the age of eight.

Later, he was fired from one of his first jobs driving an earth mover at a mine after he popped a wheelie with the massive vehicle and crashed it into power lines, knocking out electricity to the whole city.

He started going by “Evel” after a brief stint in jail alongside one William “Awful” Knofel. He bounced from thrill to thrill, winning ski-jumping championships, joining the army, and even hitchhiking to Washington, D.C., with a petition to end elk culling in Yellowstone National Park.

He eventually started his own daredevil show, stunning crowds with stunts, wheelies and (not always successful) jumps over rattlesnakes, mountain lions and other hazards.

After each crash and hospital stay, his profile only increased. Soon he started a routine of jumping over a number of cars, then returning to the same venue later to jump over one more.

On New Year’s Eve 1967, he got the opportunity to jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a span of 141 feet.

He rang in 1968 with a crushed femur and pelvis, numerous fractures, a lengthy hospital stay and blooming fame.

SNAKE RIVER CANYON ID - SEPTEMBER 7 1974: Evel Knievel holds a press conference before he attempts to jump a canyon on his X-2 Skycycle on September 7 1974 in Snake River Canyon, Idaho. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

SNAKE RIVER CANYON ID – SEPTEMBER 7 1974: Evel Knievel holds a press conference before he attempts to jump a canyon on his X-2 Skycycle on September 7 1974 in Snake River Canyon, Idaho. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

I did everything by the seat of my pants. That’s why I got hurt so much.
Evel Knievel
SNAKE RIVER CANYON ID - SEPTEMBER 8 1974: Evel Knievel prepares to attempt to jump a canyon on his X-2 Skycycle on September 8 1974 in Snake River Canyon, Idaho. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

SNAKE RIVER CANYON ID – SEPTEMBER 8 1974: Evel Knievel prepares to attempt to jump a canyon on his X-2 Skycycle on September 8 1974 in Snake River Canyon, Idaho. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

He continued his pattern of jumping, crashing and gaining fans, and announced his intention to jump over the Grand Canyon.

The federal government would not allow that, though, so Knievel set his sights on Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

Knowing that a mere motorcycle would not do, Knievel hired an aeronautical engineer to design a steam-powered, rocket-shaped “Skycycle.”

On Sept. 8, 1974, cameras broadcast a close-circuit feed to cinemas around the country, as Knievel, dressed in his trademark star-spangled jumpsuit, was strapped into the Skycycle X-2.

Anybody can jump a motorcycle. The trouble begins when you try to land it.
Evel Knievel
WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) CREW

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS – “Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon” – Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
CREW

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) EVEL KNIEVEL SPEAKING TO REPORTERS

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS – “Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon” – Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)
EVEL KNIEVEL SPEAKING TO REPORTERS

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) EVEL KNIEVEL (WHITE JUMPSUIT) WITH CROWD

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) EVEL KNIEVEL

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) STUNT SKYCYCLE

Just after the Skycycle left the launch ramp, its emergency parachute deployed prematurely, arresting the rocket’s trajectory. Knievel was sent drifting straight down into the canyon, with the wind blowing him back to where he started.

Spectators rushed to the cliff edge to try to see where he landed. Knievel could be seen struggling with his harness as he drifted toward the surging river.

As it happened, the wind was strong enough to blow him all the way back to the edge of the canyon, with the Skycycle crash-landing safely just feet from the water’s edge.

Knievel survived with just a broken nose to add to his more than 433 lifetime fractures.

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) EVEL KNIEVEL (L) WITH CREW

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - "Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon" - Airdate: September 8, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) CREW WITH STUNT SKYCYCLE

 


Posted March 3, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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