BOISE -- Evel Knievel was a daredevil and a ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumper who became an American icon. In one of his biggest jumps, Knievel attempted to launch over the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls on September 8, 1974.
Knievel came back to the Gem State a decade after the jump.
This great ole Snake River Canyon is still standing here, Knievel said. God has not moved it one single inch. And that take-off ramp is still right there on the edge where we can all see it, and I don't see no big long line of daredevils standing here wanting to jump across it.
A group of daredevils is now vying for the rights to jump the canyon in honor of the 40th anniversary of Knievel's jump. Among them is Big Ed Beckley from Bridgeport, Texas. Beckley talked with us over Skype on Tuesday.
Of course it scares you, said Beckley. That height and stuff, that's what makes this exciting, you know what I'm saying? It's like the first time you go on a date with somebody, or the first time you burn rubber in your mom and dad's car. Of course you're scared, but it's the feeling -- yea buddy!
The City of Twin Falls owns the south side of the canyon, and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) owns the north side. Beckley and his team applied to lease the North side from the IDL for their jump. When the IDL gets an application, they have to advertise the lease. That's when four other parties stepped forward and expressed their interest.
The lease for the IDL property on the north side is a two year lease, at $25,000 a year. Plus, whoever gets the lease has to give 3 percent of TV and sponsor profit and 5 percent of all other profits to the IDL.
This Friday, interested parties will meet at the IDL in Boise and the lease will be auctioned off.
I'm not afraid of it; I'm not afraid of anything, other than not getting a chance to do that, said Beckley. That's the only thing that's afraid for me now, is that somebody's going to outbid us.
The lease with the IDL begins on November 1. The lessee then has 60 days to iron out an agreement with the City of Twin Falls on the south side of the canyon.