Evel Knievel Museum, VR Style
According to Topeka Capital Journal, Mike Patterson, owner of a Topeka Harley-Davidson dealership set in motion plans to expand his operation to include a 16,000-square-foot area for the introduction of the Evel Knievel Museum. Patterson expects to draw 100,000 visitors a year to the exhibition he intends opening up this year.
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Following discussions with museum leaders countrywide and gauging their interest for the project, Patterson said he decided to create a separate museum. A two-month Knievel display in Milwaukee had attracted 50,000 people from around the world.
“It started out as a display,” said Patterson during a viewing of the construction by the Shawnee County commission. “Then we saw the excitement people have around Evel Knievel and the reach that is not just a national reach, but it’s an international reach,” he went on to say.
Robert Craig Knievel, aka Evel Knievel, was a stunt performer and entertainer who had in the course of his career, attempted so many incredible motorcycle ramp-to-ramp jumps, including a failed canyon jump in 1974 using the Skycycle X-2, a steam powered rocket. During his career, he had over 433 bone fractures, this gave him a space in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of “most bones broken in a lifetime.”
Evel’s first job was as a diamond drill operator in copper mines, but even as early as then, he already had preference for biking to what he called all this “unimportant stuff.” He was then promoted to a driver, but was soon after fired when he did a “wheelie” with a large earth mover, crashing into the town’s main power line and causing a blackout that lasted hours.
Following his unemployment phase, he was involved in a reckless driving incident, and consequently charged and sent to jail. His nickname ‘Evel’ was bestowed on him while in jail. As an adventure-thrill seeker, he never shied away from new challenges, and so he participated in professional rodeos and ski jumping events, winning the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men’s ski jumping championship in 1959.
He had a spell in the Army, and returned to his home town before starting up a semi-pro hockey team. The 1960 Czechoslovakian Olympic hockey team was persuaded to play against his team in to raise money and promote his team, but was expelled from the game. When the Czechoslovakians went to collect money the team was promised, they discovered the game receipts had been stolen, forcing the U.S. Olympic Committee to pay the expenses to avoid an international incident.
Evel began the Sur-Kill Guide Service after the birth of his first son. Business was good and promising as he offered his clients a money-back guarantee if they did not get the game animal they wanted. After a while, he was discovered by game wardens to be taking his clients hunting in the Yellowstone National Park, and subsequently, he was ordered him to stop his poaching. This spelt the end of the business.
In an effort to support his family, a motorcycle daredevil show was started. He was the sole promoter, and so he rented the venue, wrote the press releases, set up the show, and was his own master of ceremonies, making his first real stunt a jump across a 20-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. A sponsor was later found, he was now able to hire a team to take care of the logistics, enabling him to concentrate on his jumps. He had his team broken up by injury, and he started traveling from town to town, making solo appearances, and gradually introducing more challenging stunts to his repertoire.
Some of the exhibits that will be showcased at the museum will range from science to technology and engineering. One of the exhibits in particular will detail the physics of planning a jump. Another one will allow visitors sit on a bike and be immersed in a virtual world of jumping.