Growing up in the shadow of legendary motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel wasn’t always easy. But Robbie Knievel says he’s dealt with it and is proud to be his father’s son. “If you’re Muhammad Ali’s daughter, you’re not going to fight like Ali. If you’re Elvis’s son, you’re not going to sing like him,” said Robbie Knievel. “My dad is a legend, and you can never fill those shoes, and I never tried to. I’m just proud to carry on his name.” Robbie Knievel, 44, is scheduled to do a tribute jump to his father at 8 p.m. today during Evel Knievel Days here. He arrived in Butte Thursday morning and was screaming down East Park Street, standing on his motorcycle seat, by afternoon. “I still love coming back to Butte. It’s got the best riding in the world,” he said. Knievel was getting warmed up for today’s landmark performance. It’s been 16 years since he performed a jump in Butte. The daredevil has been hoping to do a stunt during Evel Knievel Days since it started in honor of his father in 2002. “I wanted to do it this year, especially with my dad dying,” he said.
Evel Knievel, 67, has pulmonary fibrosis, which hinders his breathing. He lives in Florida but traveled to Butte to attend the celebration, which continues through Saturday. Robbie Knievel said he’s looking forward to walking up the ramp with his father before the jump tonight. And though he knows his father’s health will make it difficult, he has no doubt Evel will be there. “He’ll do it,” Robbie said. “He’s tough.” Knievel admits the road between him and his father hasn’t always been smooth, but said he’s had time to patch things up over the years. What remains broken are his father’s records. Robbie topped all of them, setting 20 world records in more than 250 professional jumps. His longest jump was 223 feet, but Knievel said today’s ramp-toramp jump will be somewhere in the 180- to 200-foot range. A 2005 reality television show for A&E called “Knievel’s Wild Ride” recorded the younger Knievel’s antics. He did 13 episodes before getting frustrated and quitting. “I had a lot of fights with the young producers,” he said, adding that he’s been talking with The Discovery Channel about picking up the show.