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‘Big Ed’ Beckley cancels planned Snake River Canyon jump

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — One of two motorcycle daredevils is calling off plans to try to attempt a jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho that Evel Knievel failed to complete 40 years ago. The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/1kwFxQN ) “Big Ed” Beckley of Texas made the announcement on his website Saturday. Despite spending $1.6 million on the project, Beckley has faced multiple challenges preparing for the jump near Twin Falls ever since he announced his plans nearly a year ago. Most recently, Fox Broadcasting opted out of the jump because of budget concerns and time restraints. Beckley says he won't attempt the jump unless a network pays him several millions of dollars so he can recoup his costs. Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun's attorney says he will still jump the canyon Sept. 7.

On Beckley's website here, he posted on Saturday: “For those of you who have not heard we are not doing the Snake River Canyon Jump this year and who knows yet if we ever will do it.” He added that he is “still trying to get a media partner for 2015” and has “dumped over a million bucks of our own cash money in this project.” That includes $968,000 Beckley paid the state of Idaho last fall after a hotly contested auction for rights to use state endowment land for a landing site; that money went to the endowment, which benefits the state’s schoolchildren.

State says ‘Big Ed’ Beckley’s lease for canyon jump is still good…

The Idaho Department of Lands says its lease with Texas daredevil “Big Ed” Beckley is still good despite Beckley's problems securing a launch site for his plan to jump the Snake River Canyon in south-central Idaho, according to the Twin Falls Times-News. “As long as Mr. Beckley continues to display diligent efforts toward securing necessary permissions from a landowner for a launch site — even if it is a private landowner on the south side of the canyon — and he meets all other obligations of the lease, he will remain in good standing,” Department of Lands spokeswoman Emily Callihan told newspaper. Beckley in September paid $943,000 to the department at an auction to lease 1,147 acres on the Snake River Canyon's north rim for a landing site, hoping to launch from the south rim at a site in the city of Twin Falls used by Evel Knievel in his failed attempt 40 years ago; click below for a full report from the Times-News and the Associated Press.

Twin Falls council turns down jump-site lease for Big Ed Beckley

Big Ed Beckley, who paid nearly $1 million for a state land lease for the landing site for his re-try of daredevil Evel Knievel’s famous unsuccessful jump across the Snake River Canyon, was unexpectedly denied a lease for the jump site last night by the Twin Falls City Council, on a 5-2 vote; the Twin Falls Times-News has a full report here. “I don’t know what to say,” Beckley said after the vote. “I’m numb.” Council members had concerns about Beckley’s safety plan and impacts on nearby neighborhoods; they’ll decide next week whether to move on to a competing bidder for the jump or not authorize one at all. Another group already has obtained permits from the county for a jump from private land a week earlier; the 40th anniversary of Knievel’s attempt is coming up in 2014.

Twin Falls annexes Knievel jump site

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Evel Knievel's 1974 Snake River jump site and 425 acres along the Snake River Canyon are now part of the Twin Falls city limits. The city council on Monday unanimously approved annexing the land, which includes the Centennial Trail and the city gun range. The city obtained the property in a 2012 land swap. With daredevils seeking to use the Knievel site to launch a rocket across the canyon, city officials want to make sure they have full jurisdiction over the site. Texas motorcycle stuntman Big Ed Beckley has paid $943,000 to the state for use of the landing site on the other side of the river. He still must obtain a permit from the city before he can try to complete the jump that Knievel didn't.

‘Big Ed’ Beckley sends big payment in to state, right on schedule

Idaho’s state Department of Lands received a payment of $943,000 today, right on schedule, from Beckley Media LLC, pursuant to a hotly contested auction last week for the rights to a two-year lease on state endowment lands that include the landing site of Evel Knievel’s unsuccessful 1974 motorcycle jump across the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls – to allow for a re-try of the stunt as its 40th anniversary approaches. The payment came in by electronic fund transfer; Beckley already had paid the $25,000 first-year rent. All the money goes to the state’s public school endowment.

“The Idaho Department of Lands looks forward to working with winning bidder ‘Big Ed’ Beckley on his lease for use of state endowment trust lands for the purpose of re-creating Evel Knievel’s 1974 jump in September 2014,” said department spokeswoman Emily Callihan. In addition to the $968,000 Beckley now has paid to the state, there’ll be a second-year rent payment of $25,000 due, plus a percentage of proceeds including TV rights and sponsorships.

Knievel’s legacy a million-dollar boon to Idaho school kids

Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel never finished high school, but his stunt-jumping legacy could become a million-dollar boon for Idaho school kids. As the 40th anniversary of Knievel’s attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered motorcycle approaches, a flurry of interest from those who want to re-try the stunt has brought an unexpected windfall to Idaho schools. That’s because the state’s public school endowment owns the land on the rim of the canyon that includes the landing site – and after a hotly contested five-way auction last week, Texas motorcycle stuntman “Big Ed” Beckley won the rights to a two-year lease on the land for $943,000.

“We had Cheshire-cat grins on our faces, because it kept going up and up and up,” said Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. “I was thinking, boy, that can buy a lot of books and stuff.” The $943,000 was just the “bonus” bid – the payment for the rights to the lease. The lease itself requires $25,000 in annual rent for two years, plus a percentage of proceeds including broadcast rights and sponsorships, to be paid over to the school endowment.

The best part for Idaho’s schools: The money gets paid, whether or not the jump comes off. Beckley’s already paid the first $25,000 annual rental fee; his $943,000 payment to the state is due Friday. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.