Robbie Knievel

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Robbie Knievel
Knievel performing a wheelie at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008
Robert Edward Knievel II

(1962-05-07)May 7, 1962
DiedJanuary 13, 2023(2023-01-13) (aged 60)
Resting placeMountainview Cemetery,
Butte, Montana, U.S.
OccupationStunt performer
Known forMotorcycle jumping
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Robert Edward Knievel II (May 7, 1962 – January 13, 2023) was an American motorcyclist and stunt performer.[1] He had also used the stage name Kaptain Robbie Knievel.[2]

Early life[edit]

Robbie Knievel was born on May 7, 1962, the son of stuntman Robert "Evel" Knievel and his first wife, Linda. He was the second of four children.[3] Knievel began jumping his bicycle when he was four years old and learned how to ride motorcycles by the age of seven. He performed his first show with his father at Madison Square Garden when he was eight. On tour with his father when he was twelve, he would perform in the pre-jump shows. Knievel attended Central Catholic High School in Butte, Montana between 1975 and 1976, but never graduated. He wanted to lengthen his jumps, but his father disapproved. Knievel then went solo after his father's approval.[4]

Comparisons with Evel Knievel[edit]

Knievel's jumping career was markedly different from his father's. Most notably, Knievel used Honda CR500 motocross bikes, whereas his father made most of his record-breaking jumps using a Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle. The XR-750 is 90 pounds heavier and the Honda is a motocross bike whereas the Harley is a flat-track racing motorcycle.[5] Robbie often replicated Evel's jumps, including Evel's 1967 Caesars Palace crash, except for two of his father's major accomplishments — a Harley-Davidson XR-750 jump and the Snake River Canyon jump using the Skycycle X-2. Although never attempted, Robbie stated that he wanted to use a Harley to clear a record-breaking 16 buses,[6][7] three more buses than his father attempted at Wembley Stadium in 1975.[8] Additionally, Robbie stated that he would attempt to re-create his father's 1974 failed rocket jump over the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho.[9]

Leather jumpsuits[edit]

Knievel used red-white-and-blue V-shaped jumpsuits, similar to his father's famous white leather jumpsuit. Throughout his career, Knievel had three notable jumpsuit styles:[10]

  • A white jumpsuit with a red V lined with white stars used as a teenager touring with his father
  • A white jumpsuit with a blue V lined with white stars and a removable cape used throughout his professional career
  • A black jumpsuit with a white V lined with blue stars used in 2009 for the Las Vegas Mirage jump and promotional photos for the possible XR-750 Wembley jump.

A second black jumpsuit with a white V lined with red stars was used in promotional photographs in 2010 and 2011 but not used in a jump.

Daredevil jumps[edit]

Robbie completed over 340 jumps, setting 20 world records.[11]

Televised jumps[edit]

Several of Knievel's jumps were televised live, including the Caesars Palace jump, the building-to-building jump in Las Vegas, a jump over a moving train, a jump in front of the volcano at The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Grand Canyon jump.

Televised jump Air date Details
Caesars Palace jump April 14, 1989 To pay homage to his father, Knievel jumped the Caesars Palace fountains in 1989. The jump took place 22 years after Evel Knievel failed to land safely in 1967.[12] Knievel landed safely and became the first to successfully jump the fountains. Following the jump, Knievel stated, "that was for you, Dad".[13]
Daredevil Duel jump July 10, 1993 In 1993, Knievel challenged British motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd to a world title 'jump off' competition in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Knievel had deemed Kidd to be the only jump rider in the world worthy of challenging him. The event was televised as a $19.95 pay-per-view event titled The Daredevil Duel, Knievel vs. Kidd.[14] The competition required each rider to make three motorbike jumps, with the cumulative distance covered by each rider calculated to determine the winner of the contest.[15] Kidd took the winner's belt with a cumulative distance of 630 feet (190 m) jumped. With one jump of 223 feet (68 m), Knievel broke the American Motorcycle Association record for a single jump.[16][17]
30 Limousines jump February 24, 1998 On February 24, 1998, Knievel attempted a record-breaking jump of 231 feet (70 m) over 30 limousines. The jump took place at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Similar to the Caesars Palace jump, Evel Knievel was also present to support the jump.[18]
Building-to-Building jump February 4, 1999 On February 4, 1999, Knievel jumped the 130-foot (40 m) gap between the two 13-story Jockey Club towers in Las Vegas.[19] To avoid falling off the second tower, Knievel intentionally crashed his motorcycle into bales of hay.[20]
Grand Canyon jump May 20, 1999 The Grand Canyon jump on May 20, 1999, was one of Knievel's most famous jumps.[21] On May 20, 1999, Robbie jumped his motorcycle for a personal record of 228 feet (69 m).[22][23] Knievel broke his leg in the ensuing crash.[24] He was originally scheduled to make this jump on April 29, but bad weather forced him to postpone it for three weeks.[25]
Train jump February 23, 2000 On February 23, 2000, Knievel jumped over a moving locomotive at the Palestine Park Depot in Texas. Knievel approached an oncoming Texas State Railroad locomotive No. 400 traveling at 30 mph.[26] Knievel reached the ramp at a speed of 80 mph. While Knievel was in midair, the locomotive destroyed his launch ramp.[27]
USS Intrepid jump July 30, 2004 On July 30, 2004, Knievel jumped over five military airplanes on the Deck of the USS Intrepid in New York City.[28] The jump was to promote the TNT TV movie, Evel Knievel.[29]
Mirage Hotel jump December 31, 2008 On New Year's Eve of 2008, Knievel was scheduled to jump the volcano at the Mirage Hotel.[30] At the actual 200-foot (60 m) jump, Knievel gave the appearance of jumping the volcano but limited the stunt to a ramp-to-ramp jump in front of the volcano with fireworks behind him.[11]

Performance jumps[edit]

In 1996, Knievel jumped over ten limousines on the Las Vegas Strip, achieving a 230-foot motorbike leap record.[31]

In 2003, Knievel jumped 15 trucks at the Chinook Winds Casino.[32] In late March 2006, Knievel jumped 180 feet over the St. Johns River from one barge to another in Jacksonville, Florida.[33] In late July 2006, he made a tribute jump to his father Evel at Evel Knievel Day in Butte, Montana by jumping over a pyrotechnic show.[34][35]

On March 18, 2007, Knievel jumped an assortment of military vehicles at the North Carolina Auto Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina. Soon afterward, he appeared in a nationally-broadcast commercial for Holiday Inn Express. On June 9, 2007, he appeared in Wilmington, Delaware, and successfully made a 150-foot jump over fake money representing the amount of interest paid to the customers of ING Direct.[36][37] In August 2007, he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis, South Dakota, and made a jump at the Buffalo Chip campground.[38]

Knievel successfully jumped over 24 truck cabs at the Kings Island Amusement Park outside Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 24, 2008. The jump took place 33 years after his father made daredevil history by jumping over 14 Greyhound buses on a Harley-Davidson XR-750[39] at Kings Island.[40][41]

Knievel jumping 21 Hummers at Texas Motor Speedway

Knievel successfully jumped on June 7, 2008, at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. He cleared 21 Hummers on the front stretch of the speedway. He originally was going to jump 25 Hummers, but there was a strong sustained headwind that evening.[42]

While performing pre-jump wheelies at the LCO Casino near Hayward, Wisconsin, on August 16, 2008, Knievel fell off the bike and slid into some hay bales, dislocating his shoulder. Despite his injury, he performed the jump, clearing four small airplanes and a small helicopter.[43]

On October 31, 2008, Knievel successfully performed two back-to-back jumps in Nashville, Tennessee, to promote a glow-in-the-dark paint. Knievel ended 2008 with a New Year's Eve jump at the newly-renovated volcano at The Mirage in Las Vegas. The stunt was advertised as a jump over the top of the Mirage's volcano; however, Knievel limited the stunt to an approximately 200-foot (60-meter) ramp-to-ramp jump in front of the volcano.[44] Knievel claimed the false promotion of a jump over the volcano was decided by the Mirage Hotel, which did not want to tear down some palm trees or have its valet parking affected.[45] The live Fox television special marked the eighth live special in Knievel's career.

Knievel's last jump was held on October 29, 2011, in Coachella, California, at the Spotlight 29 Casino. Knievel jumped 150 feet (46 m) over semi-trailer trucks.[46]


In mid-2005, Knievel starred in the A&E TV series Knievel's Wild Ride. Knievel also made appearances on CHiPs and Hawaii Five-O[47] and co-starred with Lee Majors in a pilot for a series to be called Hollywood Stunts.[48] Knievel was the subject of a 2017 documentary, Chasing Evel: The Robbie Knievel Story.[47]

Business ventures[edit]

In 2006, Knievel opened a new business called Knievel's Custom Cycles, based in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey.[49]

Personal life and death[edit]

Knievel had three daughters, Krysten, Karmen and Maria. He also had two grandchildren, Analise and Kane. He died from pancreatic cancer in Reno, Nevada at age 60.[50]


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  2. ^ "Robbie Knievel Jumps Grand Canyon. At 18:31 his equipment trailer can be seen bearing the moniker Kaptain". Archived from the original on December 12, 2021 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ Levenson, Michael (January 13, 2023). "Robbie Knievel, a Motorcycle Daredevil Like His Father, Dies at 60". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  4. ^ Knievel, Evel (May 1999). EVEL*WAYS, A Daring Approach to Life. GraF X Publishing. ISBN 0-9666471-0-6.
  5. ^ "Knieval". The Desert Sun. October 27, 2011. p. 2.
  6. ^ Andro, Anthony (June 5, 2010). "Knievel will use TMS jump as launching point for more stunts". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. pp. A8.
  7. ^ "Knievel". The Desert Sun. October 30, 2011. p. 36.
  8. ^ Barker, Dennis (May 27, 2010). "From the archive, 27 May 1975: My last leap, Evel Knievel". The Guardian. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  9. ^ Poppino, Nate (May 8, 2010). "Robbie Knievel proposes 2011 canyon jump". Twin Falls Times-News. Archived from the original on October 11, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  10. ^ "Evel Knievel's Jumpsuit". National Museum of American History. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  11. ^ a b "Knievel in 200ft Vegas volcano jump". January 2, 2009. Archived from the original on October 11, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Milwaukee Journal, "Knievel son clears fountains", Associated Press, April 16, 1989
  13. ^ "Motorcycle daredevil Robbie Knievel dies at age 60". United Press International. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  14. ^ The Associated Press, The Tuscaloosa News, "Daredevils and bunnies featured at casino event", June 11, 1993
  15. ^ "Pay-per-jump". Concord Monitor. March 6, 1993. p. 13.
  16. ^ Creel, Vincent (July 11, 1993). "Chance for gore attracts travelers to motorcycle jumps". The Sun Herald. p. 24.
  17. ^ "Daredevils". The Billings Gazette. July 11, 1993. p. 10.
  18. ^ "Evel Knievel's son smashes stunt record". BBC News. February 25, 1998. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  19. ^ Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Robbie Knievel to attempt new record", February 4, 1999
  20. ^ Chicago Tribune, "Robbie Knievel Jumps Cycle Between Las Vegas Hotels", February 5, 1999
  21. ^ "The Knievels – Motorcycle Jumping Grand Canyon 1968 1999". October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 28, 2009.
  22. ^ "Las Vegas News | Breaking News & Headlines". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  23. ^ Archives, L. A. Times (May 21, 1999). "Robbie Knievel Jumps Motorcycle 223 Feet Across Grand Canyon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  24. ^ KEN RITTER (January 13, 2023). "Robbie Knievel, daredevil son of Evel Knievel, dies at 60". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  25. ^ "Daredevil Knievel clears Grand Canyon on motorcycle". The Guardian. Associated Press. May 21, 1999. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  26. ^ Deseret News, Associated Press, "Knievel revving up to jump moving train" Archived October 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, February 9, 2000
  27. ^ "Robbie Knievel safely makes train jump |". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  28. ^ Heldman, B.L., "Intrepid Has Quite A Stunt On Deck", Daily News (New York), July 30, 2004
  29. ^ "Robbie Knievel jump will air live". Archived from the original on November 16, 2022. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  30. ^ "Robbie Knievel to jump remade Las Vegas volcano". USA Today. December 9, 2008. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  31. ^ Hamilton, Argus. "Slandering Kato: What's the Beef?". The Oklahoman. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  32. ^ Guru, Cycle (March 4, 2021). "2003 Robbie Knievel Pepsi Jump at Chinook Winds Casino". Archived from the original on May 23, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
  33. ^ American Motorcyclist. American Motorcyclist Association. June 2006. p. 19.
  34. ^ "Knievel passes torch as 12-year-old sets new world record | The Spokesman-Review". Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  35. ^ Emeigh, John Grant (July 30, 2006). "Robbie Knievel jumps for his dad". The Times-News. p. 27.
  36. ^ "Video: Knievel jumps five billion dollars". Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  37. ^ "The Orange Bowl Just Wants A SponsorTo Call Its Own". ESPN. May 4, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  38. ^ "Robbie Knievel to make appearance at Legend's Ride during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally". The World Famous Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, SD. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  39. ^ Suess, Jeff. "Enquirer Throwback: Evel Knievel jumps at Kings Island". The Enquirer. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  40. ^ "People: Robbie (Kaptain) Knievel, Simon Rattle, Prince Albert of Monaco". The New York Times. May 26, 2008. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  41. ^ "VIDEO: Knievel jumps 24 trucks at Kings Island". WCPO 9 Cincinnati. May 24, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  42. ^ ABC7. "Daredevil Robbie Knievel jumps over 21 Hummers | ABC7 Los Angeles |". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved January 14, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  43. ^ 97XRadio (August 14, 2015). "Robbie Knievel Jump at the LCO Casino". Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2020 – via YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  44. ^,5143,705274431,00.html [dead link]
  45. ^ "Recipe For a Knievel New Year's: 1 Ramp, 1 Volcano". Flathead Beacon. January 1, 2009. Archived from the original on April 20, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  46. ^ "Robbie Knievel Attempts Jump at Spotlight 29", Motorcyclist, July 15, 2011
  47. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (January 13, 2023). "Robbie Knievel, Second-Generation Daredevil, Dies at 60". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  48. ^ Tapp, Tom (January 13, 2023). "Robbie Knievel Dies: Daredevil Motorcycle Showman & Son Of Evel Knievel Was 60". Deadline. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  49. ^ "Robbie Knievel to try to outdo father's famous jump at Kings Island". Wilmington News Journal. May 23, 2008. p. 9.
  50. ^ "Robbie Knievel, daredevil son of Evel Knievel, dies at 60". CTVNews. January 13, 2023. Archived from the original on January 13, 2023. Retrieved January 13, 2023.

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