Kimberly Man Recalls Knievel’s Failed Canyon Jump, Wants Braun to Succeed
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Jim Beat remembers Sept. 8, 1974, when people from all over the country flocked to Twin Falls to see a cape-wearing daredevil attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon.
“It didn’t last long,” the Kimberly man said about Evel Knievel’s failed jump. Seconds after Knievel’s X-2 Skycycle launched, the machine's parachute prematurely deployed, causing the would-be canyon jumper to fall to the canyon floor.
Luckily, Knievel lived through the ordeal.
Perhaps there was bad mojo for Knievel. Beat says he felt at the time that many of the people who arrived in Twin Falls that day came to watch a man die instead of accomplishing a feat no other person had yet attempted.
That seemed to be the attitude at the time among the out-of-state bikers, he said. They were unruly and there didn’t seem to be a lot of order when they came to town.
But there’s another side to the story, another crowd who wanted to see Kneivel safely succeed and were disappointed when he had failed. Beat, who won’t be anywhere close to the launch site but wants to at least see it from a distance, hopes Eddie Braun will succeed when he attempts to jump the canyon sometime this weekend. He wants Braun to succeed in part to help redeem Twin Falls from the stigma of Knievel’s failed jump and the disorder that came to town that day in 1974.
“It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure,” Beat said Thursday morning at a location where the launch site is visible. Back in Knievel’s day, “this town was filled with people and bikers.”
Things are different this time around.
Braun, a Hollywood stuntman who’s performed for actors to the likes of Charlie Sheen, will attempt the jump with little fanfare. He’ll launch and land on private property east of the Hansen Bridge, and only around 500 ticket holders will be admitted to the event. Signs already are posted on Highway 30, reminding drivers that they cannot park along the shoulder.
Instead, Braun’s team has hired a professional film crew to document the launch and the work leading up to it, including capturing Braun’s emotions and struggles as he battled through the process of getting to this point.
But Beat, like many others who were here for Knievel’s attempted jump, hopes to at least catch a glimpse of the rocket as it arcs through the air at g-force speeds. Unlike those unruly bikers who came to town 42 years ago, Beat doesn’t want to see the stuntman die; he wants to see Braun make the jump and walk away from the rocket to tell about it.
And that, Braun team members claim, is the main reason they haven’t released information about when, exactly, the attempted jump will take place. They’ve given a window of between Friday and Sunday, saying that weather is an important factor in being able to launch the rocket. Friday or Saturday would be best, according to weather reports. But as vague as the team has been about the launch, it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if Braun attempted the jump today. A lot of activity was happening at the site on Thursday morning.
The one thing we do know is that after more than three years of planning, headaches and tears, he plans to attempt the launch soon.
“I am going to attempt it,” Braun said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. The jump “is on.”