01 December 2007

Iconic Daredevil Evel Knievel Dies at 69

Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel
October 17, 1988 - November 30, 2007

I'm trying to keep my composure while I write this, but it's not easy. The man who influenced me in so many ways on my journey to manhood has passed. As a child I followed his career as a daredevil very closely. I loved seeing him in his red, white, and blue jump suit, with the cape flapping in the wind as he wheelied in front of everybody that showed up to watch him crash his brains out. I remember being glued to the television to watch him jump, or sometimes only attempt to jump, buses, cars, and even the Snake River Canyon on ABC's Wild World of Sports. I had his poster on my wall. My favorite all time toy growing up was the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. I would launch it off a ramp down the stairs of our house over and over again. Much like the man himself, it was almost indestructible. Before last Christmas I found out a company had bought the rights and original molds from Ideal, and had a limited run of the Stunt Cycle. I found one on line, still in the box, and paid an insane amount of money for it. My son awoke Christmas morning to find that Santa had left it for him under the tree. I have really enjoyed playing with it. It wheelies and jumps just like the one I had as a boy. I love posing Evel standing on the seat and have him ride a wheelie with one foot on the seat and the other hanging behind him like he did before his jumps. Thanks to his influence I attempted to jump 13 trash cans on my bicycle when I was in my early teens. I cleared 12 and flattened the 13th like a pancake, and broke my purple Schwinn Stingray in half. He is responsible for my love affair with motorcycles. A love affair that has got me building a mini-Supermoto bike to race next year at age 43. There was no one ever like him before, and there never will be again.
Thanks for all the memories Evel. You were true greatness.

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