Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump is almost certainly the most famous failed televised stunt in world history, and this is one of the original roadside signs that was erected to help guide onlookers to the launch site.
In 1974 Evel Knievel set out to be the first man to ever jump the 1,600 ft-wide Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho. A regular motorcycle would never make it so he hired aeronautical engineer Doug Malewicki and retired U.S. Navy engineer Robert Truax to build him a rocket-powered motorcycle.
It was named the Skycycle X-1.
Above Video: Here you can watch the full jump sequence including the landing in the canyon and an interview on television after the fact.
After testing revealed that the Skycycle X-1 was destined to fail, Truax built the Skycycle X-2. It was designed to fly more like a rocket than a motorcycle, the only way it was likely to make the distance and land on the other side.
In order to fund the attempt and make a few million dollars on the side, Evel Knievel hired boxing promoter Bob Arum and his company Top Rank Productions to sell closed-circuit television access to the event and broadcast it live to movie theaters nationwide.
Thanks in no small part to the fact that Knievel was already a household name the show sold well, netting somewhere in the region of $10 – $12 million USD in gross income – a substantial sum in 1974 dollars.
Ultimately the jump didn’t go well. A parachute deployed immediately after takeoff and caused Knievel to slowly descend into the canyon. A major disappointment to him, his crew, and the many people watching at home and in theaters.
Above Video: This footage shows stuntman Eddie Braun successfully completing the Snake River Canyon jump aboard Skycycle X-2 II.
Knievel would never attempt the jump again, however on September 16th, 2016 Stuntman Eddie Braun successfully completed the jump. He had worked closely with Kelly Knievel, the son of Evel, and Robert Truax’s son to build a replica of Skycycle X-2.
Given the 1970s pop culture importance of the Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon Jump this sign will likely attract a fair amount of attention when it crosses the auction block with Mecum in late January.
The sign is made from plywood and it’s in three pieces, once joined the sign measures in at 48″ x 24″ or 122 cm x 61 cm.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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