TWIN FALLS, Idaho • The Twin Falls City Council denied “Big Ed” Beckley the right to lease Evel Knievel’s jump site at its Monday meeting.

A motion to approve the lease failed on a 5-2 vote. Council members Greg Lanting and Rebecca Mills Sojka voted in favor.

“I don’t know what to say,” said an emotional Beckley. “I’m numb.”

The Texas daredevil spent nearly $1 million in September for the right to lease state land on the north side of the canyon as a landing site.

But the city owns the site where Evel Knievel made his famous, failed canyon leap in September 1974.

Many council members said they were concerned that Beckley’s safety plan was incomplete. After hearing numerous community concerns, council members also questioned whether to have a jump at all.

Mayor Don Hall said the jump idea strayed too much from the city’s strategic plan and would be too much of a burden on city staff.

“This is overload,” he said.

Hall said the council will take up whether to have a jump at its next meeting.

Councilman Jim Munn agreed that the jump “had nothing to do with our strategic plan.”

Munn said he was concerned that the jump was “an unwinnable situation” for local law enforcement. Putting the burden on safety officials to protect homeowners and the city from thousands of event-goers would be “an injustice,” he said.

“The police cannot guarantee the safety of those people in those neighborhoods out there,” he said.

Councilman Shawn Barigar said the lease and safety plan had “giant holes,” and he was ready to move to the next applicant, local BASE jumper Miles Daisher and REO Development. Barigar said he felt that group could address issues important to the city in a timely fashion.

He said he was tired of hearing that Beckley would have a proper safety plan and not getting one. He said he was tired of the plan responsibility falling to city staff when Beckley’s team had months to work on it.

“It is like we keep having to light a fire under people to get deliverable products from them,” he said.

Mills Sojka said it was all or nothing for her. She said it would be wrong to move to another jumper if the council would not give Beckley the time and opportunity to fulfill the lease obligations.

“If the issue is to not have a jump, I can support that,”Mills Sojka said. “I think there are valid arguments about doing a jump at all, but I would hate for it to be about personalities. Some of the comments made tonight were flat out character assassinations, and I don’t think that has anything to do with this legal document that will protect the citizens of our city.”

Lanting said he chose Beckley because he felt his team was best suited to handle the magnitude of the jump. He said it would be different if he were choosing with his heart.

“On the back of my mind, we have another jump that we have no control over whatsoever,” he said. “I would at least like to control this one if there is going to be one.”

Vice Mayor Suzanne Hawkins said she didn’t think any of the applicants could meet proper requirements for the jump.

“Even though we said that if Beckley Media did not meet our requirements, we would move on to No. 2, I would be in favor of not holding a jump this year at all,” she said. “I don’t think it is in our resources, and I don’t think it is in our strategic plan.”

(6) comments


Thank you for not allowing this to go through. Ed isn't Evel by any means but I'm sure there would have been problems occurring not only for the city of Twin but for the surrounding area as well. School being in session would have been another conflict for students waiting for the bus, walking home or to school.

Leave history alone.


Pretty Amazing that this happened. Ed bid and won by paying nearly a million for the rights to this. Now the council turns him down? WTF? They got the bid money, a % of the revenue and local security is his problem? Talk about getting taken advantage of. This is a Great opportunity to put TF back in the spotlight and recognize the great accomplishment by Evel. History is what it is and the date will come and go. This event should happen. The City council needs to get their act together and make sure they don't blow this only chance. Bunch of Bozos


I vehemently disagree with the city council ruling. I believe the event could have been properly managed in order to meet security details and city ordnances simply be limiting it‘s scope to media and a limited audience. The problem is the memories and stories of the original attempt at jumping the canyon. Having seen the chaos and mayhem first all those years ago, I can respect the feeling of wanting assurances it wouldn’t be repeated. I believe Mr. Buckley was burdened with to much reasonability for the proposed event, I agree with a safety plan, but to what degree is the participate to be held? I believe there was never a chance Mr. Buckle’s permit would have been approved, or any other. It was defeated before it began. And that is to bad, it could have brought notoriety to Twin Falls in a good manner, instead of once again leaving the nation with the impressions that Idaho is full of backward rednecks, inbred, and lacking intelligent and vision. Thank you for decision in this matter.


Why do they keep granting permits to the payday loan and cash advance businesses, and not to something that could actually benefit this valley? Learn from the past, don't live there.


Once again the village council has affirmed Twin Falls' standing as a small Mormon farming community, stuck in the past century.

Virginia Hutchins
Virginia Hutchins

The Times-News invites readers to participate in a live online chat with Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall and Councilman Greg Lanting about the council's recent decision to deny "Big Ed" Beckley a jump-site lease on the Snake River Canyon rim. The one-hour chat will start at noon Friday at Readers may ask Hall and Lanting their questions or share their concerns. Reporter Brian Smith will moderate the chat.

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