When I first started thinking about sports to shoot outside of Oregon, I found out about Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana. Went to the top of my to-do list.
But seeing pictures from EK Days 2006, I felt like I might have missed the last chance to photograph Evel. He looked so old. (Oxygen tanks do not make people look younger, that’s for sure.)
There was an AP story about his poor health. This past spring, he had a stroke. Didn’t think he had much more left in him. But apparently, before dying, he wanted to return to Butte for the celebration in his honor.
And then to die.
He didn’t look like he’d make it through the weekend.
I could ramble about EK Days, how fun Butte was (and it WAS), great laughs w/ Melissa and Lane @ the M&M…
…but I think what struck me most about the weekend was realizing how little I really knew about Evel.
Lane bought a highlight DVD. His interviews were very condescending. He talked about avoiding drugs, but was a chain-smoker and drinker. He’s bragged to Lane back in St. Pete about bagging 1,000 women. Classy.
As a kid, I – like the rest of the country – was simply impressed by his acts of daring. He WAS the X-Games before there was an X-Games. An American Hero. Part of what made sports cool to me.
But like many heroes, he has his flaws. He’s not as cool as he’d like you to believe. Seeing him in person and in old interviews, he no longer has that superhero aura. He’s just an old man with some crazy stories to share.
After Butte, I’ve asked friends and random people what they think of Evel Knievel. They seem to have the same hazy, romatic ideas about him that I did before I met him. At least I was not alone.
Please read Lane’s story on EK in the St. Pete Times.