TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Two daredevils hoping to succeed where Evel Knievel failed 40 years ago will face a delay due to television scheduling as they prepare to jump a canyon in southern Idaho.
The dates for the Snake River Canyon jumps were pushed back to late September or October, The Times-News reported (http://bit.ly/1lNVYb8) Monday.
Texas motorcycle daredevil “Big Ed” Beckley said he’ll clear the chasm on a rocket-powered motorcycle. Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun said a steam-powered rocket will carry him.
“It’s happening,” Beckley told the newspaper, but he didn’t have a fixed date.
The Snake River Canyon is a quarter-mile wide in some places and 500 feet deep.
Fox Television agreed in May to broadcast both attempts, possibly on the same day. Big crowds are expected if the jumps happen. Beckley initially planned to jump on Sept. 7, and Braun a week earlier.
“Really, it works in our favour as far as I’m concerned,” said Twin Falls County Commissioner Cathy Roemer, noting officials will have more time to prepare.
Knievel, a Butte, Montana, native who died in 2007, failed in to make it across in 1974 in a rocket-powered “Skycycle” when his parachute malfunctioned and deployed after takeoff.
Strong winds blew the cycle into the canyon, landing him near the swirling river. Knievel suffered minor injuries.
He had launched from the south rim of the canyon in the city of Twin Falls. However, city officials denied Beckley’s request to launch from the same area, citing concerns about his safety plan and questions about whether law enforcement could handle the expected crowd.
Beckley now plans to launch from private land and come down on the north side of the canyon on land managed by the Idaho Department of Lands. In September he paid the agency $943,000 to lease the area.
Meanwhile, Braun has permission to make a similar jump, taking off from private land on one side of the Snake River and landing on private land on the other.
Scott Record and Scott Truax of Omega Point Productions are the backers of Braun’s jump. Truax’s father designed Knievel’s rocket that failed. Truax has said he hopes to clear the names of his dad and Knievel with the new rocket.
The company told Jerome County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee last week that the initial launch date was being pushed back
A day later, Beckley called the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office saying the same thing, Twin Falls County Commissioner Charlie Howell told the newspaper.
Roemer said both daredevils will be held to the deadlines on permits they received to jump. Omega Point has a July 3 deadline to submit a security plan, while Beckley has a July 7 deadline.
An email sent to Fox Television by The Associated Press asking about the jumps did not receive a reply.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com