1 . Evel Knievel



Evel Knievel


 

There is no daredevil more iconic or respected than motorcycle stunt jumper Evel Knievel, and for good reason. In a career that saw him suffer huge highs as well as many failures (and 37 broken bones), Knievel established himself an American folk hero, and his nationally televised motorcycle stunts remain among the most watched sporting events of all time. Knievel got his start as a motocross rider, but when in need of money he conceived the idea of performing stunts on his motorcycle. In his first jump, he hopped over a box full of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions, and he soon found sponsorship and became one of the first professional daredevils. Soon, Knievel was regularly jumping his Harley Davidson over rows of cars, trucks, and even the fountains at Caesar’s Palace. His most famous stunt came in 1974, when he attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon on a rocket-propelled motorcycle called the X-1. A malfunction caused the bike’s parachute to prematurely open and ruin the jump, but the media storm surrounding the event had already cemented Knievel’s reputation as the king of all daredevils, and he remained in the spotlight until his death in 2007.