Time running out for Robbie "Kaptain" Knievel's pledge to jump the canyon

Magic Valley news
2011-02-24T02:00:00Z 2013-11-05T09:12:39Z Time running out for Robbie "Kaptain" Knievel's pledge to jump the canyonBy Nick Coltrain - Times-News writer Twin Falls Times-News
February 24, 2011 2:00 am  • 

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 ncoltrain@magicvalley.com or 735-3220.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Burley Boy
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    Burley Boy - February 27, 2011 8:50 pm
    Graceland? If I hadn't lived here all my life I wouldn't know where it is and I've only seen it from the Perrine bridge.So I would hardly call that our Graceland.
    While I agree that the local business would see a gain and it is possible something could be done to cover police overtime I wouldn't expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for the event. Just because business revenenue would go up there isn't a guarantee that the cost would be covered and in this economy every dollar counts.

    As for covering old debts you can see the jump by Evil left a bad taste and the local officials aren't willing to take a chance of a repeat.
  2. allinen208
    Report Abuse
    allinen208 - February 24, 2011 10:41 am
    The timing of this article is a bit funny as I was curious of the exact same thing. As many of you know, I spoke to Robbie after his last visit here to the Magic Valley in regards to our LBZ Racing’s youth team members being part of his show and escorting him to his jump. We spoke on occasion for about two months after that and then everything fell silent. I had just sent him an email about two days ago requesting the status of his plans and have not heard back. As soon as I do I will certainly forward the information that I receive.
    Report Abuse
    BIGSKY - February 24, 2011 9:04 am
    It's a little like planning a wedding. The Bride's family has it's expectations, the Groom's family has it's expectations, you have a guest list with, oh maybe 350 friends and family and none of them agree on the food served, the music played, the location of the reception, the florists, the dress, etc.

    Now try yo plan a wedding for the World to attend. And instead of dealing with two families, there are 10 Governmental agencies to accommodate.

    Not to mention that this marriage, is an arranged marriage, that will, by design, last about 80 seconds.

    And the guest list isn't really 350 people, it's more like 150 million people Worldwide. It includes a guest list that would fill every restaurant, every hotel room for 200 miles, an influx of Wal-Mart shoppers, Target shoppers, gas station customers, and try to find a rental car for 100 miles, SOLD OUT would be the two most spoken words in Idaho.

    (Let me give the Holiday Inn and Red Lion Hotel something to think about, just our film crew and production personnel, for Robbie's New Years Eve jump at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, consumed 120 rooms)

    Our problem is that certain officials in Twin Falls feel that cost of the entire event should fall on one man's shoulders, Robbie Knievel.

    They want us to pay Police overtime for both Twin Falls and Jerome, property damage surety bonds, and some officials from the meeting, feel that Robbie should start off by catching up the old bills left behind when his father left town in 1974...seriously?

    For us to bring this "economic boon" to Twin Falls, we only have to simultaneously satisfy...

    1.) Twin Falls City Officials

    2.) Twin Falls County Officials

    3.) The State of Idaho

    4.) The Federal Bureau of Land Management

    5.) Jerome City Officials

    6.) Jerome County Officials

    7.) Twin Falls City Lawyer

    8.) Jerome City Lawyer

    9.) Police agencies from 2 counties

    10.) Idaho National Guard

    11.) Jump site land owners involved in on again, off again deals with the City for ownership.

    12.) Who Knows?

    Now, examine the comments by the County Commission Chairman, that "he doesn't expect the County to put up any money for it"

    He holds a winning lottery ticket in his pocket. He knows the ticket is a HUGE winner worth untold millions of dollars, still he doesn't want to pay face value for the ticket.

    Is there any doubt that bringing Robbie Knievel to Twin Falls Idaho to jump the Snake River Canyon would not create the biggest influx of cash and tourism into the local economy in 37 years?

    This is the Superbowl being offered to a City, for the investment of a large County Fair.

    If Mr. Urie thinks that Robbie Knievel should roll into town, pull out his checkbook and settle up 37 year old debts, invest a million dollars of his own money for his part of the show and not get any help from Twin Falls, he's crazier than Robbie and Evel combined.

    Like it or not, Evel Knievel put Twin Falls Idaho on the map. The Snake River Jump site is your Graceland and Evel is your Elvis.

    To be clear we did have some very reasonable officials in that meeting. They not only seemed to appreciate the immediate benefit of the event to the community, but the lingering benefit that years of tourism would bring into the region.

    My favorite line from the meeting came from Melinda Anderson. "The City of Twin Fall's couldn't possibly buy the Worldwide exposure that this single event would bring, if we spend 20 years of our budget trying"

    Robbie wants nothing more than to jump the Snake River, but he can't do it without a contribution from Twin Falls, to hire it's own Police and beef up it's own infrastructure to handle the crowd. We also need to have access to the property that doesn't cost Robbie half his earnings to borrow for a few weeks. When we entered into this deal, we were told that the City would own the property by the time of the proposed jump.

    Jumping the Canyon is Robbie's job, jumping the mountain of red tape should be a joint effort.

    -Jeff Lowe

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