The name Knievel evokes a sense of excitement, thrill, and daredevilry, unlike any other name. And why shouldn’t it? Two of the world’s most famous daredevils, Robbie and Evel have that surname. Evel Knievel was the person who popularized bike stunts to another level. He made his daredevilry so popular that people even started buying Evel Knievel toys. His Son, Robbie Knievel continued his legacy with a successful career in the stunt riding field. Unfortunately, he passed away in January 2023. In this post, we will find out more about him and his dad, Evel. Let’s get started.
Robbie Knievel: All You Need To Know
Bad news for the extreme world. Robbie Knievel, legend and son of the equally legendary Evel Knievel, died at the age of 60 after several days of palliative care that ended a long fight against pancreatic cancer. He died in Nevada, along with his three daughters, and will be buried with his family in Butte, Montana.
Who is Robbie Knievel?
Robert Edward “Robbie” Knievel II was born on May 7, 1962, the son of Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel and his first wife, Linda. Robbie was the third of Evel’s four children (two boys, two girls) and was named after him by his grandfather on his father’s side. Robbie began to make a big impression on the world by taking his first bike jump at age four and riding his first motorcycle at age seven, perfectly following in his father’s footsteps. Evel Knievel cast his son for the first time in his stunt show at age eight at none other than Madison Square Garden, New York; at twelve he was regularly on tour with his father, warming up the crowd at the pre-jump show.
Did Robbie Knievel finish school?
Although he was educated up to the high school level, Robbie never graduated and devoted himself full time to the family business of performing stunt cars; Evel initially resisted Robbie’s desire to jump even bigger and longer but eventually gave her son the go-ahead to continue.
How was Robbie Knievel different from Evel Knievel?
Robbie Knievel parted ways with his father by choosing a Honda Motocross bike as his primary vehicle until the late 2000s, while Evel made his name riding a much bulkier and heavier Harley-Davidson bike. Robbie recreated many of his father’s most famous jumps, while also gaining fame and recognition with his stunts. Highlights included promotional breaks for both Pepsi (2003) and Coca-Cola (2008) that saw Knievel clear 15 trucks and 24 truck cabs (respectively); Leaping over 21 (2009) Hummer vehicles at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas; a televised New Year’s Eve jump at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas to end what was an eventful 2008 for Knievel, and even his last jump in 2011 at Coachella.
What is Robbie Knievel’s legacy?
His legacy will remain, which begins at the age of 4 when he already began to jump on a bicycle to emulate his father. At 8, he was already performing at the Evel Knievel show at Madison Square Garden. He would end up becoming a reference pilot for several generations, performing more than 350 incredible jumps and setting twenty world records.
Among his most outstanding feats is the famous jump from Caesars Palace in 1989, which he completed on his Honda and which his father had not been able to overcome on a Harley-Davidson. A decade later would come the jump over a row of limousines at the Tropicana Hotel (1998); the jump between two buildings at the Jockey Club (1999); or the incredible jump of 61 meters in the National Park of the Grand Canyon that would end with a forced landing and a broken leg.
His career would not end here and the American stuntman and daredevil would follow with a leap over a row of military planes on the deck of an American aircraft carrier (2004); Knievel’s Wild Ride, a television show in which he explained behind the scenes of his jump (2005); or the also famous New Year’s Eve jump between fireworks at The Mirage (2008), which he would perform a year after the death of his father, at the age of 69, in Clearwater, Florida.
How did people react to Robbie Knievel’s death?
Among the first reactions to his death, Robbie’s brother, Kelly Knievel, stands out, who told the AP that “daredevils don’t live an easy life. Knievel was a great daredevil. People don’t understand that my brother had a terrifying life”. Meanwhile, FMX rider Robbie Maddison also said: “This man inspired me in everything I’ve done more than any other rider. I remember being 8 years old watching on TV how Caesar’s Palace jumped and I wanted to be like him. You are a legend. Rest In Peace.”
How did Robbie Knievel die?
The world has lost another second generation icon as “Kaptain” Robbie Knievel, the son of legendary stuntman Evel Knievel, has died at the age of 60. Robbie Knievel’s death was confirmed by a source close to the family who spoke to TMZ, letting it be known that Knievel passed away Friday morning, peacefully in a hospice surrounded by his daughters, Krysten and Karmen. Robbie Knievel had been battling pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.
What else did Robbie Knievel do?
In addition to stunt work, Robbie Knievel has also been in entertainment media. His breaks often doubled as televised events, and he also starred in a few reality series like A&E. Knievel’s wild ride at the same time that he opened a business company, Knievel’s Custom Cycles, which sold custom bikes and Knievel-themed merchandise.
Who is Robbie Knievel’s father Robbie Knievel?
Robert Craig Knievel was born on October 17, 1938, in Butte, Montana. He was raised by his grandparents in a mining town and at eight years old he witnessed Joey Chitwood’s Auto Daredevil’s Show which changed his life forever.
From that moment on he began to perform jumps in the street aboard his bicycle to delight his friends in the neighborhood. And he suffered a lot of injuries. He lost his fear of speed, heights, and asphalt. He lost his fear of everything.
How did Evel Knievel get the nickname “Evil”?
Upon entering adolescence, Robert earned the nickname “Evil” (evil) for his misdeeds: he was arrested several times by the police for stealing motorcycles, shops, and other minor crimes. In a police chase, he fell and broke his clavicle. At the age of 13, his grandparents finally decided to give him his first motorcycle and from that moment Robert did not stop thinking about challenges and feats.
Did Evel Knievel go to high school?
He had practiced athletics, ski jumping, and ice hockey, but his passion was motorcycles. He dropped out of high school, and worked at the Butte copper mine where he caused a massive blackout by driving a bulldozer into the town’s main power source while trying to lift the front wheels; he then chained various jobs until he got one that fit him just right: motorcycle salesman. He was a clever salesman who even offered a $100 discount to the customer who managed to beat him in a wrestling match.
How did he get the name “Evel”?
His first big feat was when he turned 18 years old. He got into his Honda 305 Scrambler and jumped over a crate of rattlesnakes. For the show, the name “Evel” was put on, a deformation of “evil”, which would later become his legal name: this is how Evel Knievel was born. But the jump did not go as expected and did not reach the other extreme: the motorcycle hit the box where the snakes were, which were thrown toward the public. People panicked and tried to flee from the stands causing chaos that Evel didn’t care about.
At the age of 24, he broke his neck and shoulder in a motorcycle championship. While he recovered, he dedicated himself to selling insurance and motorcycles. By that point, he had already decided what he was going to dedicate his time and energy to.
What was the Evel Knievel show?
In 1965 he decided to put on his traveling show. He acted as a promoter, was in charge of renting the land, writing press releases for the local media, selling tickets, and acting as master of ceremonies for his first recklessness. And he was also the star with an Elvis Presley look that would stay with him throughout his career. The test consisted of jumping a twenty-foot box full of snakes and a cage with two pumas. On the first try, he almost fell into the wooden container with the reptiles. So he tried again and flew over the cats to roaring applause.
But since jumping over ferocious animals was commonplace, Evel Knievel came up with the idea of increasing the difficulty of the challenge. The following year, he made his “official” debut with the “Evil Knievel and His Motorcycle Daredevils” show at the National Date festival in Indio, California, where he jumped over two pickup trucks riding a Norton Atlas motorcycle to reach a distance of 13.5 meters. He was the most applauded of the night.
Did Evel Knievel complete his Las Vegas jump?
Evel tried to jump the fountains of the hotel but it fell very badly. That was a turning point in his fledgling career: offers began to arrive for him to perform in various parts of the country. He chose to perform a stunt at a festival in Barstow, California. But he misjudged and the bike hit him in the groin. He was thrown five meters away and was taken to the hospital. When he was released, he returned to the track to finish the show that had started almost a month before.
In June 1966 in Missoula, Montana, he attempted to jump twelve cars and a pickup truck. The distance he had to accelerate did not allow him to achieve enough speed and his rear wheel ended up hitting the top of the truck, while his front wheel hit the top of the landing ramp. Knievel ended up, once again, in the hospital with a
with a broken arm and several broken ribs.
On December 31, 1967, Evel Knievel would attempt the longest jump of her artistic career: 43 meters over the fountain at the entrance of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Although he first failed in his attempt to get any television network to broadcast the event live, he later agreed with ABC that he would film the stunt himself and if it was a success, they would broadcast it later.
Knievel was 29 years old and invested out of pocket to pay director John Derek to film the jump. Derek employed his then-wife, Linda Evans – who in the 80s would become famous for appearing in the Dynasty series – as one of the camera operators, and it was she who recorded Evel’s famous landing.
After his usual warm-up show and a few laps on his bike, the highlight of the show arrived: Knievel accelerated to face the takeoff ramp aboard his Triumph Bonneville T120. But the bike lost power and that meant that although he made it across the fountain, he landed badly on the landing ramp, lost control and his body hit the asphalt like a crash dummy.
How serious were Evel Knievel’s injuries?
The aftermath of the accident was brutal. He spent 29 days in the hospital with a shattered pelvis and femur, and fractures to his hip, wrists, and ankles. She broke more than 40 bones. The rumor spread that he claimed that he had been in a coma for a month after the impact, but they were denied by his wife in the documentary “Being Evel”.
Was Evel Knievel an alcoholic?
From that moment, no one wanted to miss out on his follies on television, and motorcycle manufacturers did not hesitate to sponsor him. By that time, Knievel was already consuming alcohol in colossal quantities that he combined with the painkillers he was taking for his multiple fractures. An always dangerous combination that exacerbated Knievel’s lacerating and controversial personality.
Was Evel Knievel involved with the Hell’s Angels?
With his reckless eagerness, he began to criticize the Hell Angels every time he got a chance to face a microphone. At one of his shows, in San Francisco, two members of the motorcycle gang jumped from the stands and punched him. But other members of the public, faithful to Knievel, gave the Hell Angels a beating. From that day on, Evel bought a gun and carried it everywhere.
One night in a bar, someone recognized Knievel at the bar and challenged him to jump Snake Canyon in the Grand Canyon of Colorado. The motorcyclist, with several drinks on him, thought it was a good idea.
Did Evel Knievel make a rocket for his stunt?
Failing to obtain the necessary legal permits, he bought some land to carry it out. He knew that with only a motorcycle he would not be able to reach the 500 meters that separated one shore from the other, so he made a kind of motorcycle/rocket that he named Skycycle, with which he first made two attempts without a pilot: both failed. However, he considered that on the third attempt, he should be on board. In addition to the thousands of people who were there to see it live (a scale Woodstock), the challenge was broadcast on many television channels at the time. The stuntman did not reach the other shore.
All the noise caused by the combustion of his rocket ended suddenly a few meters after taking off when the parachute carrying the device opened prematurely. In the end, the hulk ended up in the middle of the river, it had to be towed away with a helicopter so that Knievel could receive medical attention. He was inches away from drowning. Evel was accused of fraud, lost credibility, and decided to jump buses again.
He filled London’s Wembley Stadium with 90,000 spectators who came to see one of his most spectacular feats. He jumped over 26 London double-decker buses, but the landing was unsuccessful: his motorbike bounced off the ground and he was thrown off the ground: the result was a new pelvic fracture.
How did Evel Knievel’s career decline?
Like his jumps, Evel Knievel’s career started at full speed, reached its highest peak, and the fall was disastrous. When everything was joy, luxuries, and excesses, a biographical book appeared that spoke of the darkest passages of his life (drugs, alcohol, painkillers, and prostitution).
Although in the words of many close to him, the book did not tell lies, Evel went with two thugs to beat up its author, Sheldon Saltman, with whom he had shared a friendship for some time. He went with a baseball bat and broke both of his arms so he wouldn’t write again.
Lawsuits, lost sponsorships, foreclosures, and notoriety followed. Evel Knievel was left without his mansion and his fame. He became part of the tabloids and not on the front pages of newspapers with his exploits.