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Death-defying feats have fascinated mankind for centuries.
From sword swallowers to human cannonballs, the daredevils of history have risked life and limb to draw a crowd. Few performers gained lasting fame. But in the 1970’s Evel Knievel, a motorcycle-jumping stuntman from Butte, Montana vaulted this tradition from its sideshow origins to unthinkable heights of popularity and influence.

Knievel became a worldwide star and arguably the most famous motorcyclist of all time. His stunts at Caesar’s Palace, the Snake River Canyon and Wembley Stadium have become legendary, but not many people know that before jumping these enormous leaps Knievel actually owned a Honda motorcycle dealership in Moses Lake, Washington. In this picture from 1968 we see Evel leaning against his company car. Honda sales were still challenging in the late 60’s, but always the promoter, Knievel offered a $100 discount to anybody who could beat him at arm wrestling.

After the closure of the Moses Lake Honda dealership, Evel went to work for Don Pomeroy at his motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. It is here where Jim Pomeroy, a well-known motorcycle racer taught Knievel how to do a “wheelie” while standing on the seat of the bike.

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issued: Thursday, May 27, 2021
updated: Thursday, May 27, 2021

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