"I wanted to scream to the world that I am a born-again Christian!" That's a quote form Evel Knievel a few weeks ago when his baptism lead to 500 people being baptized spontaneously after him.
Evel Knieval is America's Legendary motorcycle Daredevil. His motorcycle and memorabilia are displayed in the Smithsonian Institute, Museum of American History.
In September, 1974 he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. He is listed in Who's Who and the Guinness Book of World Records as having broken 35 bones. There is a river in Arkansas named after him.
But something really wild happened to him during Daytona Bike Week in March. Here's how he described it, "I don't know what in the world happened. I don't know if it was the power of the prayer or God himself, but it just reached out, either while I was driving or walking down the sidewalk or sleeping, and it just—the power of God in Jesus just grabbed me. … All of a sudden, I just believed in Jesus Christ. I did, I believed in him! … I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.' … I just got on my knees and prayed that God would put his arms around me and never, ever, ever let me go."
On Palm Sunday he was baptized at the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California. As he was being baptized by Robert Schuller a spontaneous revival broke out and 500 people got out of their seats and were baptized as well.
What an awesome story. Heaven is going to be populated by a pretty wild crowd. Eternity ought to fun!
He was a jumping nut. Here's a list of some of the 300 jumps he made in his lifetime:
Jan. I, 1968 - Crashed in an attempt to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas
Sept. 20, 1970 - Successfully cleared 13 cars in Seattle, WA
Jan. 8, 1971 - Again clearing 13 cars he drew a then record crowd to the Houston Astrodome
Feb. 28, 1971 - Set World record at Ontario, CA by jumping 19 Dodge cars.
May 10, 1971 - Crashed in an attempt to clear 13 Pepsi Cola trucks in Yakima, WA
March 3, 1972 - Suffered serious injury in San Francisco's Cow Palace when his motorcycle crashed in a very difficult landing area.
Feb. 18, 1973 - Taking off from the highest ski-style jump ramp ever used he thrilled the crowd of 35,000 by flying over 50 cars stacked in the center of the Los Angeles Colliseum
August 20, 1974 - In his last jump before the famous do-or-die Snake River Canyon attempt, he soared 135 feet over 13 eight foot wide Mack Trucks at the Canadian National Exposition.
Sept. 8, 1974 - After two unsuccessful unmanned test flights Evel decided to keep his word to his fans and risked his life in a specially constructed rocket powered "Skycycle" in an attempt to clear the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Even though he made it across the quarter mile wide chasm, strong winds blew the malfunctioning parachute back into the canyon, landing just a few feet from the swirling river in which he would have surely drowned.
May 31, 1975 - A record crowd of over 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London, England watched as Evel crashed upon landing, breaking his pelvis after clearing 13 double-tiered buses.
October 25, 1975 - Defiant after the Wembley crash, Evel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at King's Island in Ohio.
In the winter of 1976 Evel was seriously injured during a nationally televised performance of an attempt to motorcycle jump a tank full of live sharks in the Chicago Ampitheater. For the first time a bystander was also injured when a cameraman was struck, eventually losing an eye. Knievel, who suffered a brain concussion and two broken arms, decided to retire from major performances but continued to do smaller exhibitions around the country with his son Robbie, establishing him as his successor.