Charismatic daredevil and showman Evel Knievel was the first to jump motorcycles in the way that he did, inspiring a whole generation of people.
“He jumped over 170 times which I think people would not realize he actually did that many shows, and he crashed 19 times. I think the most memorable ones are the ones that he didn’t make. Really, that’s what made him famous,” said Mike Patterson, Co-Founder of the Evel Knievel Museum.
Anyone can relive Evel’s legacy at the museum located in Topeka, Kansas, adjacent to Topeka’s Historic Harley-Davidson store.
Museum visitors far and wide say that it’s definitely worth the trip.
“I think when people in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s now look back on their childhoods and they can see people were inspired by Evel Knievel and some of the things that they do. I know I was. And I know even in business now, some of my inspiration came from Evel Knievel. Putting this museum in was kind of a daredevil move in a lot of ways,” said Patterson.
Evel Knievel’s restored Mack truck is a huge draw for museum guests.
Patterson and his team at Historic Harley-Davidson specialize in restorations. They got the opportunity to restore Evel’s 1974 Mack Truck & Trailer “Big Red” owned by Lathan McKay, the leading collector of Evel Knievel artifacts. As they went through the process of working to refurbish the truck, they came to realize the need for an Evel Knievel museum.
The Evel Knievel Museum contains plenty of interesting artifacts for fans.
In addition to “Big Red,” the Evel Knievel Museum showcases many other items such as Evel’s motorcycles, leathers, helmets, Cadillac pick-up truck and an Indy car he sponsored in the 1977 Indianapolis 500.
There’s also a Caesar’s Palace crash helmet and the Skycycle from the Snake River Canyon jump. Another popular interest among fans is the Evel Knievel wind-up toy. There’s a movie theater inside the museum as well, displaying all of his films.
Museum inter-actives give guests the chance to feel like Knievel himself.
Beyond all the artifacts, there are inter-actives, including touch-screens where you can see over 40 of Evel Knievel’s broken bones. The screens expose his skeleton and show all the broken bones in his body. The museum holds all of Evel’s x-rays from the crashes for you to view.
There’s even a jump planner where you can make inputs and choose your bike, helmet and leathers. You also choose your ramp angle, what you’re going to jump and your speed.
The most talked-about interactive at the Evel Knievel Museum is the 4D virtual reality experience where you sit on a motorcycle just like Evel Knievel’s, put on virtual reality goggles and go for a jump, helping you feel what Knievel himself experienced.
Evel Knievel was an important part of our social fabric of the 1970’s. The Evel Knievel Museum gives people of all ages the opportunity to look back on his amazing contributions.