TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Texas motorcycle stuntman Big Ed Beckley’s plans to repeat Evel Knievel’s attempted jump of the Snake River Canyon in south-central Idaho could be upstaged by a Hollywood stuntman with an earlier launch date.
Jerome County commissioners approved a permit for a rocket-powered jump proposed by Scott Record and Scott Traux for Sept. 1, a week ahead of Beckley.
The Times-News reports the plan approved earlier this week involves taking off from private land in Jerome County and landing on private land in Twin Falls County, sidestepping public land restrictions and permits.
Eddie Braun has been picked to guide the craft, making two daredevils this year with plans to rocket across the canyon and succeed where Knievel failed in 1974.
The county commission’s approval of the second jump is causing friction with the Twin Falls City Council, which has worked with Beckley and even annexed the land containing Knievel’s jump site. That’s where Beckley plans to launch. Braun would launch from the other side of the river.
The new event might “water (Beckley’s) down a bit,” Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall said.
Councilman Greg Lanting said the county plan sounds like the junior varsity, while “ours feels like the varsity.”
The state last year awarded Beckley a lease to use the public land landing site of Knievel’s attempt, and Beckley in October paid $943,000 to the Idaho Department of Lands.
His company, Beckley Media LLC., was among several that placed bids for the rights to a two-year lease on the state endowment lands. All the money from the lease goes to the state’s public endowment, which helps support public schools.
Omega Point Productions failed to get the lease, but can circumvent some requirements by using private land, officials said. That company was formed in Twin Falls by Record and Truax, whose father designed Knievel’s rocket that ended up a failure and parachuting into the canyon. They said they’ve designed a new rocket, and that it’s nearing completion.
“This event is to clear my dad’s name and clear Evel’s name,” Truax said. “It is to cure history.”
Beckley said he didn’t see a conflict between the two events.
“There’s no secrets here between us,” Beckley said. “There is no conflict between them and I.”
Commissioner Charlie Howell said the county will face a challenge supporting both events that could each draw tens of thousands of people if they take place.
Jerome County Commissioner Cathy Roemer said a special informational meeting is planned Feb. 19.
“I put that together in response to several property owners who had contacted me with concerns, and they wanted to ask questions of Omega Point Productions,” Roemer said.