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Robert Craig Knievel, aka Evel Knievel, began his daredevil career in 1965, forming a troupe called Evel Knievel's Motorcycle Daredevils. He barnstormed the United States, performing automobile and motorcycle stunts for anyone who would pay him.
Within three years, he attempted to jump 151 feet across the fountains in front of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. While the jump was successful, his landing was a disaster, and his injuries put him in a coma for a month. It wasn't long before Knievel was a household name and his stunts were drawing record crowds.
In 1971, Knievel set a World Record in Ontario, Calif., by jumping 19 cars, but his most famous jump was still ahead of him. In September 1974, Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, a quarter-mile stretch over a raging river. During his jump, strong winds pulled his malfunctioning parachute back, landing Knievel on the canyon floor just feet from the river.
Knievel retired from major performances in 1980.
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