We went to the Capital of Kansas, Topeka, to see the new Evel Knievel museum that just opened June 30th of this year.
The name Topeka is an Indian sentence that means “place where we dug potatoes”. The city was laid out in 1854, and chartered as a city in 1857. Topeka’s founders chose the name because it “was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound.”
Robert Craig “Bobby” Knievel Jr. was born October 17, 1938 in Butte, Montana.
After a police chase in 1956, in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he referred to Bobby as Evil Knievel (making a rhyme with his last name) Bob thought that was cool and began using that nickname. He chose the misspelling for his first name because he didn’t want to be considered “evil”.
While Evel began riding motorcycles in both motor cross races and jumping at an early age, he did not become famous until he almost killed himself trying to jump the Fountains at Caesar’s Palace on December 31, 1967.
Tidbit of Information: Evel Knievel’s famed video of his jump and crash at Caesars’s Palace was shot by future TV series Dynasty star Linda Evans.
The museum is sponsored by Harley Davidson Motor Cycles. Instead of exiting through a gift shop, you leave the museum through their showroom.