Daredevil Robbie Knievel, who has died at 60, thrilled crowds with a record-setting jump at Oneida Casino in 1998
The hundreds of daredevil jumps in Robbie Knievel’s career included a memorable one outside Oneida Casino near Green Bay that attracted 10,000 spectators, drew national media attention and landed him in the "Guinness Book of World Records."
Knievel, who died Friday at age 60 of pancreatic cancer, jumped 17 semitrailer tractors on his motorcycle — no hands — outside the casino in 1998, besting a record set by his famous father Evel Knievel, who had jumped 14.
Knievel, or Kaptain Robbie Knievel as he was also known, was 36 years old when he flew 194 feet at 85 mph from ramp to ramp as the crowd held its breath. He landed on two wheels but acknowledged it wasn’t one of his prettiest jumps. “Guinness World Records Primetime” on Fox was there to film it.
“You either miss them or make them,” he said afterward, as he peeled off his jumpsuit.
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Knievel talked with the Green Bay Press-Gazette outside his motor home the day before the jump about how strong the pull was to follow in his father’s daredevil footsteps. The elder Knievel was said to have broken 411 bones and had more than a dozen major surgeries during his career in the 1960s and '70s.
“My dad used to sit in the back of the ambulance and say to my older brother and I, ‘Look at me. I’m all busted up. Don’t do this,’” Robbie Knievel said. “But when you have 50,000 people cheering you on and you grew up with that guy, who was almost superhuman, I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
During the same interview, he rattled off his own injuries.
“Two knee surgeries, eight broken bones, torn ligaments, three compressed vertebrae, concussions ... And they had to put me to sleep to get the pavement out of my ass a couple of times.”
Knievel spent a week in Green Bay getting ready for the jump, the finale to the casino’s two-week anniversary celebration. He was accompanied by two daughters who visited Packers training camp and Fox River Mall in Grand Chute. He said he had invited his dad to the jump, but his health prohibited him from making it.
Evel Knievel died in 2007 at age 69.
Kendra Meinert is an entertainment and feature writer at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Contact her at 920-431-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Robbie Knievel, dead at 60, made record jump at Oneida Casino in 1998