SOURCE: Evel Knievel Brand and K&K Promotions

August 04, 2016 17:44 ET

Daredevil Evel Knievel to Be Honored at Caesar's Palace Anniversary Gala

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - Aug 4, 2016) -  This Saturday, at the 50th Anniversary Gala at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Kelly Knievel, the son of legendary daredevil Evel Knievel, will commemorate his father's most famous -- and nearly deadly -- stunt: Evel's unsuccessful attempt on December 31, 1967, to jump his motorcycle over the Caesar's Palace fountains.

While saluting his father's accomplishments, Kelly Knievel will also credit the role of Jay Sarno, Caesar's Palace's colorful founding CEO.

After the stuntman used a variety of tricks to talk his way into Sarno's office, the hotelier -- who like Knievel lived by his own rules -- enthusiastically endorsed Evel's plan: he would risk his life at the entrance to Sarno's hotel when it was packed with New Year's Eve revelers, and in front of cameras from ABC's Wide World of Sports. What could go wrong?

Evel's takeoff was perfect, and his motorcycle soared over the fountains. But the landing was a disaster. The motorcycle landed short, pitching Knievel over the handlebars in a horrific tumbling crash that threw him all the way into the Dunes Hotel parking lot. Knievel suffered numerous bone fractures and a concussion, and was in a coma for 29 days.

But the publicity resulting from the failed stunt -- broadcast by ABC after he recovered -- made Evel Knievel the most famous motorcycle daredevil in the world.

Kelly Knievel's statement at the Caesar's Palace celebration follows:

"My father was drawn to Caesar's Palace because on the Las Vegas strip it was synonymous with accomplishment and glory. It was a place where champions roamed, and legends were built.

"Evel Knievel always believed he was called to greatness. It was only fitting that he came here to confront his destiny, and to help make Caesar's Palace the great spectacle it has become.

"And it is a credit to Jay Sarno that he had the vision and the instinct to recognize an Evel Knievel, and to make history.

"My father made about 275 jumps throughout his career -- unfortunately including 13 crashes that made him world-famous. His glory led to the movement that we now call extreme sports. That movement has spread around the world, and it all started here. 

"On behalf of the Knievel family, and my brother Robbie -- who was finally the first to conquer the fountains -- we thank you for this recognition."

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