About Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel was one of the greatest daredevils in American history. He was fearless, and liked nothing better than trying to defy gravity, usually on his motorcycle. You might ask what a daredevil is. Daredevil is another word for stunt-performer, and it’s a good bet you’ve already seen one, even if you didn’t know it. All those car chases, explosions, dangerous leaps on TV are performed by stunt-performers. But Evel was more than a hidden face in a movie, he was the main attraction.
As a kid Evel loved to ride his dirt bike really fast, and sometimes he even got in trouble with the law. But he loved the danger and the risk. He was always looking for new challenges.
He started to participate in rodeos and ski-jumping events. Anything to get his adrenaline rushing. When he was 20, Evel joined a semi-professional hockey team, and he began to learn the business aspect of sports and entertainment. He even convinced the Czechoslovakian National Hockey Team to play his team before the 1960 Olympics.
Becoming a Daredevil
But eventually Evel got back on his motorcycle. He needed a way to earn money for his growing family and he remembered watching a daredevil when he was a kid. He figured he could do the same thing, and the legend of Evel Knievel was born. His first recorded jump was over a box of rattlesnakes.
Evel Hits the Road
Evel went across the country promoting his stunts. His favorite was using his motorcycle to jump over things, usually cars. He would jump twelve cars in a row, and to get people to come back for more, he would add another car...and then another, until he couldn’t jump anymore. Often he would only learn this by crashing. But Evel was a determined man, and he would try to outdo himself.
Jumping Fountains at Hotels
Jumping the Snake River Canyon in a Rocket!
Don’t Try This at Home
Not all of his stunts were a success, and Evel is still the Guinness Book of World Records holder for most bones broken by a single person—433! But no matter if he landed or crashed, the crowds grew, and to keep the crowds coming, Evel dreamed up bigger and more dangerous jumps. He said he would jump the Grand Canyon, the Snake River Canyon, 13 “double-decker” London buses, and even a tank full of live sharks.
Even though Knievel did a lot of dangerous things, he was a strong supporter of safety for motorcycle riders. He encouraged people to wear helmets, and he should know, considering how many times he crashed. He once said that if it weren’t for his helmet he would have been a goner long before his time.
An American Icon
At the height of his fame, Evel’s picture was everywhere. Lunchboxes, toothbrushes, magazines, and even a movie about his life. He was instantly recognizable with his flashy red, white, and blue leather jumpsuits. He looked like a real-life superhero.
Evel Knievel Toys
Evel Knievel Games
Even an Evel Knievel Electric Toothbrush!