Evel Knievel Days adds Urban Downhill Race

The popular Montana festival brings mountain bikers into the fold with a race that involves jumping rattlesnakes

The crowd at Evel Knievel Days in 2013. Photo credit: Bob Allen

The crowd at Evel Knievel Days in 2013. Photo credit: Bob Allen

The 2014 Evel Knievel Days festival in Butte, Montana, is making history by holding the first urban downhill race in the United States. The Evel Urban Downhill will incorporate a lot of ‘Evel elements’ including the daredevil’s original ramps, live rattlesnakes and Greyhound buses.

Matt Vincent, mayor of Silver Bow County and husband of Alicia Knievel Vincent–Evel Knievel's daughter–came up with the event. The idea stemmed from the Butte 100, one of the country's most difficult 100-mile mountain bike races, which typically takes place the same weekend as Evel Knievel Days. He felt the two events complemented each other and thought the urban downhill was the perfect way to combine them.

Guy Vesco, a member of both the Butte 100 and EKD boards, mapped out the 1.12-mile course. The downhill course was first intended to be only semi-difficult and suitable for all ages. Now racers will have to jump Greyhound buses racers. A separate race will be held for kids in the morning.

"I just jumped in with my difficult desires to 'Knievel it up' a few degrees," said Alicia. "So here we are, just now finding out we're the only one in the country, and brainstorming about creative ways to incorporate my dad and really make it fun, difficult and unique."

Guy Vesco mapped out the new urban DH race course.

Guy Vesco mapped out the new urban DH race course.

Fortunately for racers, Alicia's brother talked her out of adding live mountain lions to the course, similar to the ones her father jumped over in 1965. Instead, racers will only have to avoid and jump over look-alike lions and rattlesnakes.

She said, "Since I can't have the live mountain lions, I'm not settling for anything less than live rattlers."

The festival also added skateboarding for the first time this year and will host the world's largest collection of authentic Evel Knievel memorabilia ever assembled, including his motorcycles, leathers and x-rays.

The 13th Annual Evel Knievel Days are July 24-26 in Butte, Montana. More information on the festival can be found at www.evelknieveldays.org.

Editor-at-large Mike Ferrentino wrote about mountain biking in Butte, Montana, in the July issue of the magazine. To purchase the digital edition of the issue, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bike-mag/id469444271?mt=8