Farewell, Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel (1938-2007)
To many of us you were a real life super hero
May you rest in peace
"God put you here to do your best,
and live your best and be your best,
and when he's ready he'll call you home.
Now what better deal could you ask for?"
It is early in morning as you walk toward the special skycycle, you see your name painted in block letters on it's side. You know why it's there. You designed it, you built it, you conceived the whole idea, a stunt never done before.
As you look up toward the special vehicle, you hear the build up of voices. They're all around you. It's the people. They've come to see you, to see you do your best.
Before you know it, it's time to get ready. As you walk away you look back and see the sun gleaming brightly on your skycycle. You think will it do its job? Will it get you to the other side? There is no time to think about it. Now, you must get ready. Jump time is almost here.
You start to get your special suit on. You start to think again. You know there's a chance you could crash, lose everything. But you cannot back down; you said you would do it, so you must do it.
Those people out there expect you to get out there and fly to the other side. Now you are ready; special suit, gloves and boots, every thing is ready.
Now you are outside looking toward the monstrous ramp that will launch you out over the canyon. You start walking to the skycycle and you hear the people cheering. You feel something funny in your stomach. Was it the food? Is it the jump? You do not know.
You continue walking. Your crew is waiting, they are waiting to strap you into the vehicle. You ask yourself will it work?
You walk up to the skycycle and run your hand across the smooth body metal. Then you look up at the ramp and down again.
Now you start to climb into the cockpit; it takes you almost ten minutes to get in. It's so small - you're so big. Now you are in, sitting in the contour seat.
Your crew straps you in; making sure everything is secure. They hand your helmet; you put it on. They're securing the canopy and your heart starts pounding.
Now you are ready. Everyone backs away; there is complete silence. You sit there in the cockpit; you are motionless. Soon you will be speeding at four hundred miles per hour.
You reach up to the lever that will fire up the powerful jet engine behind you. You push it forward. All of a sudden you are smashed into the seat; the G forces are building up. Can your body take it?
Now you see the giant ramp coming at you; faster and faster. Soon you feel your body slammed down again, you are on the ramp.
All of a sudden nothing you see nothing, you are off the ramp and you see nothing. Seconds seem like minutes as you fly outward. Soon you see the other side.
You reach up to the parachute deployment lever, your muscles ache but you must pull it.
You reach it, you pull it, and the vehicle jerks violently. Soon it is a smooth decent, you close your eyes for a moment; soon you see the ground coming up.
You are aching all over but your body survived it; your skycycle, your own creation, has survived it. Contact!! You feel the jolt as your machine hits the ground. SUCCESS!!!
YOU HAVE DONE WHAT THEY SAID COULD NOT BE DONE !!!!Copyright © 1974 Lenny Schmidt
I wrote this two months before Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump took place.
September 8, 2004 will be the 30th anniversary of Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump attempt. The events leading up to the jump helped me get through a very difficult time in my life. I got to see it on closed circuit. It now sounds like Evel's son, Robbie, will soon make his own assault on Snake River Canyon.