It is being reported that Evel Knievel passed away today. As a child of the 70’s he was the biggest hero in my neighborhood. The ramps my friends and I jumped on our bikes…not to mention the scrapes, cut and bruises…were a elementary kid’s tribute to Evel’s daredevil lifestyle. I had the Evel Knievel toy…I had the Evel Knievel bicycle…I had the Evel Knievel lunch box. If he was on the “Wide World Of Sports“…I was glued to the television.
Back in my comedy days I had a routine talking about how he inspired me to almost kill myself trying to jump my bike over the neighborhood creek. It always went over well with the audience and ended up on one of my records. When I moved to Florida I used to fly out of Tampa to dates and had the privilege of meeting Evel on one of those flights (he also lived in the Tampa area). He was very gracious…spent an hour talking with me…and patiently answered all of my questions (and listened to me talk about Christ). I gave him a compact disc with the “Evel Knievel” routine on it before we got off the plane. Weeks later I got the coolest letter from him saying how much he liked it.
I was thrilled last year to find out that he’d come to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. It is nice to know that I will get to see my childhood hero again some day…in Glory. Until then…he will be remembered fondly in the Elrod house…and missed.