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Daredevil Days: The 6 Most Outrageous Evel Knievel Stunts of All Time

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Dixie Somers
Evel Knievel was one of the most famous sports personalities of the 1970s.

Evel Knievel was one of the most famous sports personalities of the 1970s.

Inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, Evel Knievel was dubbed “one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s” by The Times. He held the Guinness World Record for the “most broken bones in a lifetime” with 433 over the course of his career. Of more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, here are the most outrageous stunts he ever attempted.

Caesar’s Palace
Outrageous doesn’t begin to describe Evel Knievel’s jump of the fountains at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and how he got there was even more unbelievable. In 1967, Evel created a fictitious corporation called Evel Knievel Enterprise, three fictitious lawyers to present his ‘case’, and even made fake calls to the casino’s CEO claiming to be from ABC-TV and Sports Illustrated. That was only the beginning of Knievel’s Caesar’s Palace fiasco, and even though he crashed during the jump, the ordeal, and his recovery, made him as famous as ever.

Ontario, California
On February 28th, 1971, riding his Harley-Davidson XR-750, Evel Knievel successfully jumped 19 cars to set the new world record. Filmed for the movie that held his name, Evel Knievel held that record for 27 years, until it was eclipsed by Bubba Blackwell. Bubba jumped 20 cars in 1998, also using an XR-750.

Los Angeles, California
In November of 1973 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Knievel successfully jumped 50 stacked cars. After that jump, he held the record for jumping the most stacked cars on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 for 35 years, until it was broken in October of 2008. His beloved 300lb, fiberglass and aluminum XR-750 is currently a part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Caesars Palace was one of many great jumps for Evel Knievel and it didn't really matter if he was successful or crashed.

Caesars Palace was one of many great jumps for Evel Knievel and it didn’t really matter if he was successful or crashed.

Snake River Canyon
While Knievel had wanted to attempt a jump of the Grand Canyon, he knew the American government would never allow it. After seeing the Snake River out an airplane window, he opted for the next best thing. Using superheated steam to propel his ‘Skycycle,’ the X-2, the attempt failed when a drag chute malfunctioned. While he had made it across to the North rim of the canyon, the chute caused him to drift back to the Southern bank of the river. Had he landed just a few feet earlier, he would have drowned in his fire suit.

Kings Island Theme Park, Ohio
While attempting to jump 14 Greyhound buses at the Kings Island Theme Park, he landed on the 14th bus. Alas, his jump was successful, and he held the world record for jumping the most buses using a Harley-Davidson. 24 years later, in late 1999, Bubba Blackwell broke his record.

Chicago, IL
The last of Evel’s greatest attempted stunts, he was slated to attempt a jump across a tank of live sharks. Inspired by the film ‘Jaws’, the stunt was never to be aired. During rehearsal, a crash caused a cameraman to be permanently injured. While Knievel broke his arms, it was ultimately the cameraman’s injury that led Knievel to limit his performances and, ultimately, retire.

Evel Knievel was brave and foolish, reckless and wild, but the end of his career shows where his heart truly lay. While the world lost him in 2007, he will forever remain embedded in American history as an entertainer, inspiration, and a hero in the daredevil world. Information for this article was provided by the professionals of who specialize in fire retardant clothing for dangerous jobs. Flame resistant clothing is also often worn by stuntmen and drivers to protect them in the case of a crash or explosion.

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