Robbie Knievel

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Robbie Knievel
RobbieKnievelTexasMotorSpeedway.jpg
Doing a wheelie at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2008
Born(1962-05-07) May 7, 1962 (age 51)
Butte, Montana
NationalityAmerican
Occupationstunt performer
Known formotorcycle jumping
ParentsRobert and Linda Knievel
 
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Robbie Knievel
RobbieKnievelTexasMotorSpeedway.jpg
Doing a wheelie at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2008
Born(1962-05-07) May 7, 1962 (age 51)
Butte, Montana
NationalityAmerican
Occupationstunt performer
Known formotorcycle jumping
ParentsRobert and Linda Knievel

Robert Edward "Robbie" Knievel (born May 7, 1962 in Butte, Montana) is an American daredevil and son of stunt performer Evel Knievel.[1]

Family[edit]

Robbie Knievel is the son of the late famous stuntman Robert (Evel) Knievel and his first wife, Linda. The third of four children (two boys and two girls), Robbie is named after his paternal grandfather. Robbie has two daughters, Krysten and Karmen. He also has a granddaughter and grandson, Analise and Kane.

Early life[edit]

Robbie Knievel began jumping his bicycle at age 4 and rode motorcycles at age 7. At age 8, he performed his first show with his father at Madison Square Garden. At age 12 he was on tour with his father where he would perform in the pre-jump shows. Robbie attended Central Catholic High School in Butte, Montana between 1975–76, but never graduated. He wanted to lengthen his jumps, but his father disapproved. Robbie then went solo after his dad's approval.[2]

Comparisons with Evel Knievel[edit]

Robbie Knievel's jumping career is markedly different from his father's, in that Robbie used high-performance Honda CR500 motocross bikes that have been designed for jumping up until 2009. Evel Knievel made most of his record breaking jumps using a Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle. The XR-750 is a significantly heavier and less agile motorcycle than the CR500 because the Honda is a motocross bike whereas the Harley is a flat-track racing motorcycle.

Robbie has made and often replicated Evel Knievel's jumps (including Evel's 1967 Caesars Palace crash) with the exception of two of his father's major accomplishments: a Harley-Davidson XR-750 jump and the Snake River Canyon jump using the X-2 Skycycle. Although never attempted, Robbie stated that he would use a XR-750 to clear a record-breaking 16 buses, three more buses than his father attempted at Wembley Stadium in 1975[3] (the current record for jumping a Harley-Davidson XR-750 is 15 buses, currently held by Bubba Blackwell). Additionally, Robbie stated that he would attempt to re-create his father's 1974 failed rocket jump over the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho.[4]

Leather jumpsuits[edit]

Like his father's famous white leather jumpsuit, Robbie would also use the red, white, and blue V-shaped jumpsuit. Throughout his career, Robbie has had three notable variances in the jumpsuits:

Daredevil jumps[edit]

Robbie has completed over 350 jumps, setting 20 world records.[5]

Televised jumps[edit]

Robbie has had several jumps televised live, including the Caesars Palace jump, the building-to-building jump in Las Vegas, a jump over a moving train, a jump in front of the volcano at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon jump.

Televised jumpAir dateDetails
Caesars Palace jumpApril 14, 1989To pay homage to his father, Robbie jumped the Caesars Palace fountains in 1989. The jump took place 22 years after Evel Knievel failed to clear the fountains in 1967.[6] Robbie landed safely and became the first to successfully jump the fountains. Following the jump, Robbie stated, "that was for you, Dad".
Daredevil Duel jumpJuly 10, 1993In 1993, Robbie Knievel challenged British motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd to a world title 'jump off' competition in St. Louis. Knievel had deemed Kidd to be the only jump rider in the world worthy of challenging him. The event was televised as a $19.95 pay per view event titled The Daredevil Duel, Knievel vs. Kidd.[7] The competition required each rider to make three motorbike jumps, with the cumulative distance covered by each rider calculated to determine the winner of the contest. Kidd took the winner's belt by out-jumping Knievel by 6 feet. Knievel said he had hoped for a 'rematch' with Kidd, but three years later, Kidd retired after sustaining serious injuries in a motorbike accident, so the opportunity for Knievel to win the title belt back from Kidd was never to be realized.
30 Limousines jumpFebruary 24, 1998On February 24, 1998, Knievel attempted a record-breaking jump of 231 feet over 30 limousines. The jump took place at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Similar to the Caesars Palace jump, Evel Knievel was also present to support the jump.[8]
Building-to-Building jumpFebruary 4, 1999On February 4, 1999, Robbie jumped the 130-foot gap between the two 13-story Jockey Club Towers in Las Vegas.[9] To avoid falling off the second tower, Robbie intentionally crashed his motorcycle into hay bales.[10]
The Grand Canyon jumpMay 20, 1999The Grand Canyon jump on May 20, 1999 was one of Robbie Knievel's most famous jumps.[11] The jump was partially based on Robbie's father's desire to perform a Grand Canyon jump, yet would end up doing the rocket-propelled Snake River Canyon jump. On May 20, 1999, Robbie jumped his motorcycle for a personal record of 228 feet.[12] However, Knievel lost control of the bike on landing and broke his leg in the ensuing crash.
The Train jumpFebruary 23, 2000On February 23, 2000, Robbie jumped over a moving locomotive at the Palestine Park Depot in Texas. Knievel approached an oncoming Texas State Railway train travelling at 30 mph.[13] Knievel reached the ramp at a speed of 80 mph. While in midair, the locomotive destroyed Knievel's launch ramp.[14]
The USS Intrepid jumpJuly 30, 2004On July 30, 2004, Robbie jumped over five military airplanes on the Deck of the USS Intrepid in New York City.[15] The jump was to promote the TNT TV movie, Evel Knievel.[16]
The Mirage Hotel jumpDecember 31, 2008On New Year's Eve of 2008, Knievel was scheduled to jump the volcano at the Mirage Hotel.[17] At the actual 200-foot jump, Knievel gave the appearance of jumping the volcano, but limited the stunt to a ramp-to-ramp jump in front of the volcano with fireworks behind him.[5]

Performance jumps[edit]

In 2003, Robbie made a spectacular jump at the Chinook Winds Casino where Robbie jumped 15 Diet Pepsi trucks.[18] In late March 2006, Robbie Knievel jumped from one barge to another in Jacksonville, Florida and in late July 2006, he made a triple tribute jump to his father Evel Knievel at Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana by jumping the Batmobile, four huge flame throwers and a 1959 era Harley-Davidson motorcycle.[19]

On March 18, 2007, Robbie jumped an assortment of military vehicles at the North Carolina Auto Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina. Soon afterwards, he appeared in a nationally broadcast commercial for Holiday Inn Express. On June 9, 2007, he appeared in Wilmington, Delaware and successfully jumped $4.8 billion in bogus money representing the amount of interest paid to the customers of ING Direct. In August 2007, he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis, South Dakota and made a jump at the Buffalo Chip campground.

Robbie successfully jumped over 24 Coca-Cola Zero truck cabs at The Kings Island Amusement Park outside Cincinnati, Ohio on May 24, 2008.[20] The jump took place 33 years after his father, Evel Knievel, made daredevil history by jumping over 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island. At age 46, Robbie landed a few feet short on his safety deck over the 23rd truck. The jump mirrored his father's 1975 record-breaking whereas Evel successfully jumped 14 buses on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 and also landed on the safety deck.

Jumping 21 Hummers at Texas Motor Speedway

Robbie successfully jumped on June 7, 2008 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas. He cleared 21 Hummers on the front stretch of the speedway. He originally was going to jump 25 Hummers. However, there was a strong sustained headwind the evening of the jump.

While performing pre-jump wheelies at the LCO Casino near Hayward, Wisconsin on August 16, 2008, Robbie fell off the bike and slid into some hay bales, dislocating his shoulder. Despite his injury, he performed the jump clearing four small airplanes and a small helicopter.

On October 31, 2008, Robbie successfully performed two back-to-back jumps in Nashville, Tennessee to promote a glow-in-the-dark paint. Robbie ended 2008 with a New Year's Eve jump at the newly renovated volcano at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stunt was advertised as jumping over the top of the Mirage's volcano, however, Knievel limited the stunt to an approximately 200 foot ramp to ramp jump in front of the volcano.[21] Knievel claimed the false promotion of a jump over the volcano was decided by the Mirage Hotel, who did not want to tear down some palm trees or have their valet parking affected.[22] The live Fox television special marked the 8th live special in Robbie's career.

Robbie's last jump to date was held on October 29, 2011 in Coachella, California at the Spotlight 29 Casino. Robbie jumped 150 feet over tractor trailer trucks.[23]

Business ventures[edit]

During the summer of 2005, Robbie had his own TV show on A&E called Knievel's Wild Ride. Robbie also was to co-star with Lee Majors in a US pilot series called Hollywood Stunts that featured greats such as Spanky Spangler, Matthew Phillips, George Nelson and Ron Nix. In 2006, Robbie opened a new business called Knievel's Custom Cycles, based in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. Business ventures were conducted through the company, Knievel Motorcycle Manufacturing Inc., which sold different custom motorcycles and various Knievel clothing items.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Robbie Knievel Hopes to Jump Snake River Canyon". Billings Gazette. Associated Press. May 9, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ Knievel, Evel (May 1999). EVEL*WAYS, A Daring Approach to Life. GraF X Publishing. ISBN 0-9666471-0-6. 
  3. ^ http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/4/5311/Motorcycle-Article/Robbie-Knievel-to-Jump-16-Buses-on-XR-750.aspx
  4. ^ http://www.magicvalley.com/news/local/article_2959356a-5088-5fcc-89e0-7afd526d671e.html
  5. ^ a b http://www.metro.co.uk/news/world/457199-knievel-in-200ft-vegas-volcano-jump
  6. ^ Milwaukee Journal, "Knievel son clears fountains", Associated Press, April 16, 1989
  7. ^ The Associated Press, The Tuscaloosa News, "Daredevils and bunnies featured at casino event", June 11, 1993
  8. ^ "Evel Knievel's son smashes stunt record". BBC News. February 25, 1998. 
  9. ^ Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Robbie Knievel to attempt new record", February 4, 1999
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune, "Robbie Knievel Jumps Cycle Between Las Vegas Hotels", February 5, 1999
  11. ^ The Knievels - Motorcycle Jumping Grand Canyon 1968 1999
  12. ^ http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/1999/May-21-Fri-1999/news/11225291.html
  13. ^ Deseret News, Associated Press, "Knievel revving up to jump moving train" , February 9, 2000
  14. ^ http://www.kxan.com/dpp/wildcard_8/Robbie_Knievel_safely_makes_train_jump
  15. ^ Heldman, B.L., "Intrepid Has Quite A Stunt On Deck", NY Daily News, July 30, 2004
  16. ^ http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5387624/site/todayshow/ns/today-entertainment/t/robbie-knievel-jump-will-air-live/
  17. ^ "Robbie Knievel to jump remade Las Vegas volcano". USA Today. December 9, 2008. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story DVD
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ http://deseretnews.com/article/0,5143,705274431,00.html
  22. ^ http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/recipe_for_a_knievel_new_years_1_ramp_1_volcano/7476/
  23. ^ "Robbie Knievel Attempts Jump at Spotlight 29", Motorcyclist, July 15, 2011

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