Evel Knievel Days: Butte, Montana

One of a kind seems like a cliché, but where Evel Knievel Days is concerned-it’s definitely one of a kind. Where else can you see Trigger Gumm jump over 39 cars parked side by side on his motorcycle, with his red, white and blue cape flying, to break the World Record, and see Louis “Rocket” Re barrel through 12 blazing wooden barriers on his motor cycle to break that world record, plus see the Wall of Death and the Ball of Steel Stunt Show all in a few blocks of each other? All this is thanks to Evel Knievel who is one of Butte, Montana’s hometown boys.

It’s stunning. I couldn’t believe our timing was that good that we could take in such daredevil bounty. We hit Philipsburg, Montana last Friday night just in time to catch the band at the White Front Bar and the Flint Creek Valley Days parade on Saturday (see post) and head to Butte in the afternoon to catch the last events of Evel Knievel Days.

Along with the daredevil shows that repeated throughout the day (expect for the record breaking events) barbeque beef, chicken, pizza and stir-fry smells mixed into the crowd and if you ever wanted to feel like a motorcycle mama or papa yourself, there’s plenty of gear to buy-skull and cross bones compete with the American flag as a motif. Live and recorded music accompanied the action with a mix of western, blue grass and rock. This year, I also saw the legend himself. Evel Knievel was being driven in a truck to kick off Trigger Gumm’s event. These days he needs an oxygen tank, but he sounds robust.

All this may seem like it would be hard-boiled, rough and tumble action with the crowd to match, but I can assure you this is truly family fun entertainment. There were all sorts of people mixed into the crowd and everyone was friendly and upbeat. My son did keep asking us when he might get a skateboard and wondered when he would be old enough to leap over cars on a motorcycle, but seemed happy enough when I said one day he could get the skateboard. As to jumping over cars? Never.

If you want to head here next year, remember it’s always the last weekend in July. The Wall of Death and the Ball of Steel Stunt show travels throughout the year, so maybe you’ll be able to catch them somewhere else.