Robert “Evel” Knievel died in 2007, but every time you watch a stuntman slay tires or send jumps you’re looking at his legacy. We traveled across the country in a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro to find out what the man really like and attempt to best his most epic failure. By jumping the snake river canyon.
This story was originally published on December 9, 2015
Chevrolet gave us the keys to the new Camaro in Montana mountain country under the condition that we’d deliver it to Seattle two days later.
Between those two places is Knievel’s hometown of Butte, Montana and Twin Falls, Idaho; the site where he strapped himself into a steam-powered rocket “motorcycle” and attempted to fly over the colossal Snake River Canyon.
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Spoiler alert: he didn’t make it.
But the stunt was a spectacular turning point in Knievel’s career. It boosted the hell out of his personal brand awareness, and it also seemed to be the first string in the unraveling of his sanity.
Coming face-to-dirt with the reality of his mortality had a pretty profound effect on the man, which Johnny Knoxville and company’s Being Evel documentary really did a great job of capturing. It made him a little rougher around the edges. Quicker to snap.
In some ways it motivated him to fly further, faster all the time. The events at the Snake River Canyon made Knievel the man he was, which makes this spot one of the most sacred in extreme motorsports. Pretty amazing then that we had to ask a farmer for directions to find the place.
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