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Mind the landing.

Jess McHugh
August 16, 2017

Evel Knievel has long been a part of the popular vernacular, more a daredevil symbol than historical figure, and for the first time a museum is offering visitors the chance to learn about his life.

Knievel was a motorcycle stunt performer and one of the inspirations for extreme sports today. He made a name for himself jumping motorcycles across vast distances (and oftentimes crashing).

"I did everything by the seat of my pants. That's why I got hurt so much," he famously said.

The museum, which opened earlier this summer in Topeka, Kansas, includes x-rays of some of his 433 broken bones, scratched helmets that saved his life, and the “skycycle” he rode across an Idaho canyon, according to the L.A. Times.

The museum even features a 4-D virtual reality experience where visitors can feel as if they're landing a huge jump just like Knievel.

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Knievel came into prominence in the 1960s. Originally from Butte, Montana, he started off with smaller jumps, leaping his motorcycle over mountain lions and rattlesnakes.

Known perhaps more for his spectacular crashes than for his successful landings, Knievel’s greatest stunts took place over an Idaho canyon and at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. During the former stunt, Knievel was first inspired to attempt to jump across the Grand Canyon. When he was refused permission, he instead tried to jump Snake River Canyon in Idaho and just barely missed the landing because of strong winds, surviving with little more than a broken nose.

At Caesar’s Palace on Dec. 31, 1967, Knievel cleared the fountain but bungled the landing, spending the next 30 days in a coma with a broken skull and rib.

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"Just amazing he survived all the crashes and all the bones broken," Rodney Brown, a Knievel fan in the museum, told NPR. "He didn't care. He just did what he wanted to do, and lived his life, and that's the way it was."

Tickets to the museum are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free for children 7 and younger.

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