Top 10 Lessons from Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon Leap

Thirty-seven years ago, on September 8, 1974, Evel Knievel made his epic attempt to leap the Snake River Canyon on a motorcycle (OK, it was a rocket, but let's not be picky). [FULL DISCLOSURE: Evel Knievel was my hero, and I have the scars to prove it.]

There is so much to learn from this event. So I thought I’d list the top lessons.

Top Ten Lessons from Evel Knievel’s attempt to leap the Snake River Canyon (37 years ago today – Sept. 8, 1974)


10. When you’re out drinking with your buddies, don’t declare you are going to dosomething really stupid, because they might hold you to it.

9. It is very, very hard NOT to push the parachute button when your rocket ship launches with 6,000 pounds of thrust. I swear that is not a euphemism.

8. Evel Knievel was such a good marketer, he could sell dolls to boys. I had about five.

7. Even if you don’t push the parachute button when your rocket ship launches with 6,000 pounds of thrust, if you fall short everyone will say you pushed the button anyway. Still not a euphemism, or even a metaphor.

6. Social media, email, splintering media, X-Games, Jackass, that guy who jumped a motorcycle up to the top of that huge arch on New Year’s Eve… Being the best in any profession, whether daredevil or marketing, used to be a lot simpler.

5. $6 million used to be a lot of money (the advance Evel was paid by the promoters).

4. If half your audience wants to see you succeed & half wants to see you crash and die and you don’t do either, NO ONE will be happy.

3. The old saying is true: You can’t cross a canyon in two jumps, or if your parachute opens early.

2. America used to be a country where anyone could rise to national prominence and riches - if they were willing to break every bone in their body in pursuit of their dream. Today all it takes is a sex tape.

1. If any of this means anything to you, you’re old.