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Hall of Fame: Evel Knievel (Read 2723 times)
Five Fingers
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Hall of Fame: Evel Knievel
Jun 17th, 2003, 6:45pm
 

 
Robert Craig Knievel was born on October 17 1938 in the mining community of Butte, Montana.  
 
In 1964, Knievel goes on crime spree across America with a bank robbing gang, working as their safe cracker.  
 
In 1965, Knievel decided to go straight and began selling motorcycles. Trying to attract attention to his dealership, he leaps off a ramp and clears a mountain lion, but lands on a box of rattlesnakes. Evel goes on to tour America with his motorcycle stunt show. In 1968, attempting to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, he lands awkwardly, leaving him in a coma for 29-days with a shattered pelvis, fractured hip, and smashed right femur. Surgeons rebuild his leg with a two foot long, three inches wide strip of steel. Over the years the punishment includes years of pain killers washed down with the Evel cocktail, the Montana Mary. A lethal mix of beer, tomato juice and Wild Turkey whisky. In his heyday Evel did little to dispel rumors that the secret ingredient was a couple of drops of sump oil.  
 
"There are a lot of myths about my injuries. They say I have broken every bone in my body. Not true. I have broken 35 bones."
 
His last jump was in 1981. Since that time Evel has been forced to find new ways of getting his adrenaline rush. Today, it is the pressure of high stakes gambling that keeps him going. "The guy who built Caesar's Palace once told me I was the biggest gambler Vegas had ever seen because I didn't gamble with money. I gambled with my life. I won $100,000 on a game of golf once. I eagled the first hole. I have only ever had a couple of eagles in my life."
 
Evel's long suffering wife Linda stood by him during the high jinx of his life. But now they live separate lives. "She was bitching too much." He estimates he has slept with 2,000 women. "My record was eight in one 24-hour period.  Women are like buses. Good to ride on for 15 minutes. But they forget that if you get off, there will be another one along in 15 minutes. And another one, and another one."
 
Knievel made over $300 million through toy merchandising but spent nearly all his fortune. "Most of the money has gone. The IRS claim I owe them $21 million. They can kiss my cheeks. And I told them if they send someone around to get it I won't be responsible for what happens to him."  
 
Kneivel coined the infamous catchphrase that preceded many of his most harrowing jumps:  
 
"Kids, do not try this at home."
 
In 1998, Sports Illustrated magazine reported that 59 year old Knievel had bet his 37 year old doctor who was treating him for hepatitis C $10,000 that he (Evel) would outlive him. The bet's outcome has yet to be decided.
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