Print this page

TRAVIS PASTRANA RECREATES 3 OF EVEL KNIEVEL’S FAMOUS JUMPS By Eric Miller

Written by  August 3, 2018

Daredevil Extraordinaire Travis Pastrana recreated 3 of Evel Knievel’s most memorable jumps.

The jumps recreated were:

  • Evel jumped 50 smashed cars-Travis attempts to jump 52 smashed cars.
  • Evel jumped 15 Greyhound buses-Travis attempts to jump 16 Greyhound buses.
  • Evel jumped the Fountains at Caesar’s Palace- Travis attempts to jump the Fountains with 200 feet less take and landing room.

The spectators in attendance braved the 112° temperature (it is Las Vegas in July!) It cooled down to 104° for Travis’ first jump.

Travis came out for a quick interview shortly before his jumps. He told the crowd that he was doing these jumps as a tribute to Evel Knievel, He said “Evel was the First American Stuntman!”

Most of the Knievel family was in attendance for the jumps. Other celebrities in attendance were

Danny “The Count” Koker (from Counting Cars), some of the cast from Pawn Stars (yes, Chumlee was there), Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby from American Pickers, and Travis’ cronies from Nitro Circus. Also in attendance was stuntman Spanky Spangler. Spanky has known Travis for a long time and has performed stunts with Travis.

Roland Sands custom designed and built and Indian FTR750 motorcycle to recreate the historic jumps. Travis said that Roland is one of the premiere bike builders and knew “he could get it right.” Travis also wanted the bike to be similar to Evel’s Harley Davidson motorcycle. When Roland removed the cover off the Indian motorcycle (for the reveal), it was painted eerily similar to Evel’s bike. The Count was highly impressed when the cover came off the bike. The Count did an awesome job of giving his insight about Travis and the jumps during the pre-show.

Many of Travis’ friends and fellow stunt bikers said this is an incredible attempt, because this motorcycle was not intended to go into the air. Travis Pastrana’s father Robert (a retired Marine and still a Marine) gave some insight on Travis’ daredevil antics. Robert said Travis has been a daredevil since the age of 4. He said Travis was involved in BMX bikes, motocross, and other high-risk sports. He won almost every event he entered. Mr. Pastrana also informed the audience that Travis had actually dislocated his spine from his pelvis years ago (99% of people who incur this injury never get out of a wheelchair, but not Travis!

Evel’s son Kelly Knievel, gave an incredible account of his father’s life and legacy. Many video clips of Evel’s famous jumps were played and memories were relived. Kelly told us that Evel crashed 14 times performing his jumps. Kelly’s account of his father showed us what a daredevil, sportsman, and showman that Evel was.

His mother, Debby Pastrana, cannot bear to watch Travis during his feats of daring. She usually doesn’t attend the events and “keeps her eyes closed” during his stunts.

Travis had worn a black leather outfit leading up to the day of the jumps, then appeared for the jumps in a traditional Evel style white leather outfit (stars and all), and a cape!

Travis’ first jump was the 52 smashed cars. Travis easily handled the jump. There was a nice pyrotechnic display that was set off as Travis jumped. Travis was ecstatic after his landing.

Travis’ second jump was the 16 Greyhound buses. Travis also successfully cleared the buses with ease.

Now, the trek to Caesar’s Palace. The first two jumps were performed behind Bally’s. Caesar’s Palace did not have the room for the other jumps, due to the growth of their property. Travis actually has 200 feet less take-off room and 200 feet less landing room than Evel did.

Travis was escorted, via Las Vegas Boulevard, by a Huge Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Travis rode his custom Indian, stopping on the way to high-five drivers that were stopped in the lane next to him. The crowd went crazy and they loved it.

Travis easily cleared the Fountains. The crowd went wild and Las Vegas Boulevard was shut down! You know you’re awesome when Las Vegas Boulevard is closed due to your feat of courage!

There are still arguments of “Evel Knievel vs Travis Pastrana.” Evel was right for his era, and Travis was right for his era. Also, let’s not forget that Robbie Knievel was the first to successfully jump The Fountains at Caesar’s Palace in 1989 (not taking anything away from Travis.)

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a good pic of Travis jumping the Fountains. The crowd was large and in charge, and I couldn’t get close (poor excuse, but the only one I have). We all know he successfully made the jump by now!

One other note, I met Jean B. (Guppy) and Cricket the Boston Terrier. She rides for Veterans and helps raise money for Veterans. She has logged 1,000,000 (Yes, that’s 1 Million) miles on her motorcycle. She was in a motorcycle accident shortly after July 8th. Thankfully, Cricket and Jean are ok, but her bike did not fare well. Get Well Jean!