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As a little boy one Halloween my mom asked me “What do you want to be for Halloween?” and my answer “Evil Knievel” was not received warmly. My mother scolded me saying that Mr. Knievel was a brave but crazy man for the stunts that he pulled. My mom, and rightly so, understood my fascination with Evil Knievel and motorcycles. She did not want to encourage me in anyway; she feared I would jump off of our roof, climb a power pole, ride my Schwinn 5 speed bike off an embankment, or attempt to walk across the top of our back fence.
I ,like so many other kids, had Knievel fever. In honor of my new hero I asked that Christmas in 1972 for a mini-bike. The answer was a hopeful “We’ll see.” I have asked “Santa” for a mini-bike, go-cart, or motorcycle every Christmas since then. The running joke is still alive today, and thankfully so am I, with my Mom chiming in every Christmas “We’ll See” to my question “Can I have a Mini-Bike for Christmas, you know the Bull Taco kind?”.
Today I write with great sadness that the man that made my heart fly out of my chest, made me want a mini-bike then Harley, the man that showed me what crazy really means is gone: Evil Knievel gone at age 69.
The following are some of the famous stunts that Evil is best known for in his great career. For me his greatest stunt of all was his charisma of the like that made me, a fearful little kid, want to take as many risks as I could take. This Christmas when I ask my mom for “my mini-bike” it will be with a tear in my eye: