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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Evel Knievel Makes Last Jump

On Friday November 30, 2007 Evel Knievel died in his Clearwater Florida condo after many years of a variety of serious health problems. Having grown up watching Evel Knievel as young kid (I was about 9-14 in his heyday), it is a sad loss for me. Yes, I know he was a hard living, thick skinned, tough little son-of-a-gun - but Bobby Knievel from Butte Montana was a childhood hero for me, like it or not. I mean, back in the day - no one else was doing the kind of wild stunts Evel did whenever he felt like it. And yes, he sure paid a price too. I watched some of the recent History channel bios - and also heard his son Robby speak less than highly of his dad, rest assured i have been made aware of the man's sins - I still liked him and respected him. One time, I even got to hear the inside story from an ESPN executive of how he pummeled Shelly Saltman with a baseball bat for insulting his family (it is not pretty story at all). What can I say - I still have some respect for the knucklehead.

Check out the 1971 movie about Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton, see a commercial for the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, or watch Evel Knievel totally wipe-out at Caesar's Palace. And if you like all the crazy BMX and dirt bike races today - give Evel Knievel some props. He did a lot of groundwork to make those sports the big draw they enjoy today.

Another interesting tidbit regarding the big jump at Caesar's Palace, ABC declined to cover the event for their show The Wide World of Sports - so Knievel got John Derek to film it. To try and save some coin - Derek had his wife Linda Evans work as a camera operator. (he married Bo Derek later, and Ursula Andress before Evans). And yes, it was Linda Evans - aka Crystal from Dynasty who shot the footage of Evel skipping across the Dunes parking lot next to Caesars. Learn more from Wikipedia's entry on Evel Knievel.

And one more thing - I rode in to work Saturday morning on my motorcycle in low 30 degree weather just to post this blog entry. I hope Evel made the jump all the way to heaven. Every now and then, doing something crazy is good for you.