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First Day in Butte - Evel Knievel Museum

I reached Butte, Montana on Thursday evening ready to hit Evel Knievel Days the next morning. Friday was day two of the event and over breakfast I scanned the local paper for the day's agenda.


Everything was happening in historic uptown Butte where I found about a million Harleys lining the streets. I wondered if I could be on the only KLR in town. Never afraid to stand out from the crowd, I parked just down the street from the Evel Knievel museum.


Late in life Evel had expressed his hope that all of his memorabilia could be displayed in a single Evel Knievel Museum. But that never happened. Instead, collectibles from his daredevil career are scattered among various private museums and private collections all over the U.S.


Evel Knievel Enterprises is one of these small museums with a respectable collection and some nice displays. Admittance was free, which was an unexpected surprise. So, I contributed to the museum's donation box and was happy to see many other folks doing the same. 


The place was packed with a lot of middle age or older men who were patiently followed by bored looking wives, girl friends, or daughters. These were the people who remember Knievel's glory days and were part of the Evel Knievel mania that effected kids of the 1970s. 


The main attractions in this museum were several Harley Davidsons that Evel rode in various performances. To me, these bikes were "the survivors." I imagined the forgotten wrecks from his failed jumps rusting in pieces in some scrap yard.


I also learned that Evel's son, Robbie is testing a new Canyon Sky Cycle and may attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon on September 8th, 2014. That date will be the 40th anniversary of his dad's failed Snake River Canyon jump.  


Also on display were many of Evel's leathers, helmets, and autographed photos. There were also other "odd ball" memorabilia, such as x-rays of some of his injuries. I was not overly interested in the x-rays, because something else had already captured my attention. 


One of my favorite pieces was this Evel Knievel pinball machine that was originally released by Bally in 1977. I would've loved to have dropped in a quarter and played some pinball. But, it was my first day in town and I didn't want to get thrown out of any establishment, just yet.