Evel Knievel Museum opens in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new Kansas museum is giving enthusiasts of late motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel a jump on appreciating his death-defying, bone-breaking exploits.

The $5-million, 13,000-square-foot homage to the hard-living man who became a global pop icon in the 1970s with rocket-powered and motorbike stunts has launched in Topeka.

As president of the two-story, nonprofit shrine attached to his Historic Harley-Davidson dealership, Mike Patterson said the Knievel memorabilia on loan from collectors includes some of the daredevil’s motorcycles, helmets, and the man’s restored 1974 tractor-trailer unit dubbed “Big Red.”

The museum also features a virtual reality motorcycle jump, an interactive that shows Knievel’s actual X-rays and the stunts that resulted in those fractures, and an exhibit in which visitors select their own variables in planning a virtual jump, right down to the ramp angle, speed and whether they want to make it over cars, trucks or sharks.