Fox Television has backed out of a proposed deal to fund and televise a motorcycle jump of Snake River Canyon in Southern Idaho.
Daredevil Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel tried to jump the canyon on a rocket powered motorcycle on September 8, 1974. He didn’t make it.
Knievel had originally hoped ABC Sports would broadcast the jump but they backed out. So he made a deal with boxing promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank Productions. Arum broadcast the failed jump on closed circuit television. Everybody lost money on the deal. One of the investors, Vince McMahon, Jr., declared bankruptcy and afterwards dedicated himself to making professional wrestling the wonderful and lucrative spectacle it has grown to be.
Fox had agreed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that colossal failure this September 14 by televising not one but two attempts of the canyon. A Hollywood stuntman named Eddie Braun was to leap the canyon on steam powered, rocket motorcycle. Motorcycle daredevil “Big” Ed Beckley was going to jump the canyon on some other kind of rocket motorcycle. About a month ago Fox announced that the network was pushing the jumps back into October.
Then ten days ago Fox announced that two veteran executives named Gary Newman and Dana Walden had been named co-bosses of bosses at the Fox Television Group. Their immediate task was to stop Fox from bleeding money, which is what happened shortly after viewers got bored with American Idol. Apparently, someone told them what happened the last time somebody tried to cash in on a Snake River Canyon jump.
Big Ed (photo above), a dreamer who goes about 285 and who promotes himself as the “Worlds Largest Motorcycle Jumper,” issued the following statement on, where else, his Facebook page.
“We received the final word the new bosses at FOX TV have backed away from the Snake River Canyon Jump. It was not in their new budget for us to make the jump. We will not sacrifice safety, our integrity, and our just reward for attempting a real motorcycle jump over the Canyon. We are now seeking other media partners and we are undaunted by this development because it is in God’s hands. We have followed his lead from the start and whatever he has in store for us, whatever it may be we are along for the ride.
“A special thanks go to those who are closest to this whole deal – my friend, my cheerleader, the one that never gave up thru all this is Cheryl Williamson. Her support has been a lifesaver throughout this whole ordeal. Of course there is my friend and attorney Jon Simmons as well as Rod Woodruff and his crew from the Buffalo Chip. These are the ones closest to the whole project and have been with me thru the beginning. There are many others too like Chad Coppess, Gene Sullivan, my Team Jesus, my office girls, and more and they all are respected and appreciated for always being there for me. Also to my back up rider and builder Paul Stender and his beautiful wife Thanks for all you have done and tried to do for this project.
“Thanks to you all – for your support and believing in me. I hope you understand there will be no replies to your questions – nor radio or TV interviews about this subject until we know more – we will move forward. I am not through with this jump or others we have been working on. There is much more to do with this restart of my career. Remember – I have always been the one that when people said he couldn’t – I showed them I could and I have the LORD on my side – everything is possible with him.”
Braun, who also has a Facebook page, is concentrating on his participation in “Evel Knievel Days 2014” in Butte, Montana and has made no comment on the Fox cancellation.