We took this picture in your RV when you were passing through my town and we grabbed some food together with my wife Jaci and our 12-week-old daughter, Giavanna. This picture is classic. It was taken in March, 2001.
A few days before this picture was taken, I was riding my giant ramp to break the world record for high air on a BMX bike that I set 10 years earlier. I set a new vertical height just over 50 feet. After I set the new record I felt I had more in me so I pushed it harder. I was towed into the 24’ vertical ramp at 60 mph and clearing 52 feet. I took a slam, falling over five stories to my head. I skipped across the ground to a stop. I was knocked out for a few minutes. I woke up to an ambulance ride to the hospital. My full-face helmet broke and a piece of it cut my lip half off. A plastic surgeon had to reattach it.
I was also going in and out of consciousness for a few days. Most of the time, I was pretty spaced out flashing back. I didn’t regain full memory for more than 6 months. In the picture, you can see a steristrip covering up the stitches on my lip and both my eyes are black.
Evel Knievel! If there was a time in my life that I could use someone else to identify with; the drive to go against the odds, everyone else’s opinion and whatever got in your way – to follow your heart, to trust your instincts and skills, and to hold the confidence to stare death in the face again, it was now. Guess who called me out of the blue? The father of the fire that makes the impossible possible, Evel Knievel. He asked if I had any dinner plans. I said, “Yeah, I’m going out to eat with Evel-Fucking-Knievel!”
To be honest, I can’t remember much of the evening, except for a few random moments. My mind was fading out trying to recover, but this photo says it all to me. That was a moment in my life I realized it was okay if my lifestyle wasn’t going to mellow out with age, like most. I didn’t need to apologize. My mind is always going to see the world differently with the will and desire to experience it in ways no one else has or may ever again. I’m here to live life full throttle and there is no better example to embrace this attitude than Evel Knievel. You had no path. You towed your dreams up hill and made them happen. I am in accord. I saluted as my red wine clanged your O’douls, snapped this picture, inspired and went back to working to play even harder.
Your legend will continue….