With only 4 1/2 months before Robbie “Kaptain” Knievel’s proposed jump over the Snake River Canyon, the stuntman’s event is up in the wrong kind of air.
Knievel swept through town in May, camera crew in tow, to meet with local government officials and tourism groups about re-enacting his father’s attempted canyon jump on this year’s Fourth of July weekend. Evel Knievel tried to jump the canyon in 1974 using a rocket-powered “skycycle,”but didn’t make it across.
May was at least the second time since the early 1990s that Robbie Knievel visited Twin Falls, pledging to make the jump.
Now, Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Shawn Barigar said he hasn’t heard from Knievel’s camp since August. And all of the work to be done for a jump is up to the daredevil, he said.
“As we left it with Robbie when he was in town, and our communications after that, the ball was kind of in his court to come up with a plan, the various processes in that, and filing the applications with the various agencies he needs for that,” Barigar said.
Those agencies include the city and county of Twin Falls, likely along with the state of Idaho and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall said he hadn’t heard anything from Knievel since the May visit.
The city still expects to one day acquire the elder Knievel’s jump site, which is currently privately owned. Hall said he would still be interested in a jump proposal, depending on the conditions.
“I think it’s an interesting proposal for the area, if it’s managed right,” Hall said. “Ithink it’d be an economic boon to the area. And of course I’m a child of the ’70s, so I think it’d be kind of cool.”
Twin Falls County Commissioner Terry Kramer said he also hasn’t heard a word about a jump since Knievel’s initial presentation.
Also quiet has been Knievel’s online presence. A website that formerly trumpeted a potential canyon jump now states it’s “under construction.” VFT.org, a website devoted to flat-track motorcycle racing, lists a massive lot of Knievel items — motorcycles, show suits and a 28-foot tour trailer among them — up for sale, with Knievel’s e-mail address as the contact.
Knievel’s manager, Jeff Lowe, did not return phone messages left this week by the Times-News.
Twin Falls County Commission Chairman George Urie noted in May that Knievel seemed to expect local entities to do the heavy lifting for the event. Urie also said he didn’t expect the county to put up any money for it.
Barigar said he thinks there is still willingness in the community for the jump, but only when a plan is in place.
“Truthfully, I think it would be a great opportunity for the community to capitalize on a piece of history,” Barigar said. “We’ll just have to wait.”
Nick Coltrain may be reached at email@example.com or 735-3220.