Why you should care
Because badass never dies.
In this occasional series, OZY takes to streets and neighborhoods across the globe to ask a simple question: “How was your day?”
Las Vegas, Nevada
It’s fucking hot here … 112 degrees. And I’m trying to drive my kids somewhere, but I’m gearing up, as the owner of Evel Knievel’s intellectual property rights, for this September 17th thing we got going on. We got Scott Truax, this vagabond engineer who, like, lives in his car, redesigning the rocket for another try at getting over the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho. The same one my father tried and didn’t pull off. He’s got this professional stuntman, Eddie Braun, who must have been drinking when he agreed to this, to do it.
The rocket itself, and it’s like strapping yourself to a tin can, is a 10,000-horsepower rocket, and it goes from, like, zero to 300 mph in about three seconds, so you’d have to be drinking to even consider it. But Eddie, after a long career as a stuntman, wanted this to be his last stunt, so he waited 40 years for this. And Scott’s father, Robert, was my father’s engineer on it the first time around [on Sept. 8, 1974, Evel Knievel attempted the mile-long jump in a specially engineered rocket motorcycle], so he wanted to see if he could design it so he pulled it off this time. The problem the last time was that as the rocket motorcycle hit the takeoff ramp, the parachute deployed right away. It was a mistake, but it was really too dangerous to try again.
Using the same technology, spare parts from the first one and the same design as last time with some minor improvements, they want to give it a try. So we got clearances from local governments and the Federal Aviation Administration, and we’re working on sponsors now. I’ve no idea what it’ll be like, but I’m sure it’ll be entertaining. I used to ride myself, but crashed too many times. I remember my dad letting me sit in the old one when I was 14, and it really was like being tied to a can and looking right up at the sky. I got in the new one, and it was just as scary. I was really nervous when my father tried it, but Eddie’s financing this on a shoestring, so it’s part of a dream he’s got. But this really might not be the smartest idea.
But, you know, when he was a kid, Eddie met my dad, so this really means something to him. When he came to ask what I think about it? I told him like I told you: Crazy, but I ain’t going to stop you. And so far he’s not being stopped.