Robbie Knievel, a stunt performer who set records with daredevil motorcycle jumps following the tire tracks of his thrill-seeking father — including at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1989 and a Grand Canyon chasm a decade later — died in Nevada, his brother said. He was 60.
Robbie Knievel, who had lived in the Sequim area for about a decade at one point, died Jan. 13 at a hospice in Reno after battling pancreatic cancer, Kelly Knievel said.
“Daredevils don’t live easy lives,” Kelly Knievel told The Associated Press. “He was a great daredevil. People don’t really understand how scary it is what my brother did.”
As a boy, Robbie Knievel began on his bicycle to emulate his famous father, Evel Knievel, who died in 2007 in Clearwater, Florida.
Robbie’s friends and neighbors were already packing his house in Sequim for his move from the Sequim area when they learned Robbie’s dad had died on Nov. 30, 2007, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
Reached by phone last week, Todd Tjernell, a longtime friend and now Sequim general contractor as Todd’s Tile, said he met Robbie around the time he did a stunt jump at 7 Cedars Casino in July 1995.
Robbie later moved to Sequim at a friend’s suggestion and he and Tjernell eventually became neighbors and got to know each other more after Robbie’s Grand Canyon jump in 1999, he said.
After a crash-landing to complete a motorcycle leap over a 220-foot chasm at an Indian reservation outside Grand Canyon National Park in 1999, Robbie Knievel noted that his father always wanted to jump the spectacular natural landmark in Arizona, but never did.
Where Evel Knievel famously almost died from injuries when he crashed his Harley-Davidson during a jump over the Caesars Palace fountains in Las Vegas in 1967, Robbie completed the jump in 1989 using a specially designed Honda.
Robbie Knievel, who promoted himself as “Kaptain Robbie Knievel,” set several stunt records, but also failed in several attempts.
“Injuries took quite a toll on him,” Kelly Knievel said.
In Sequim, Robbie Knievel did special events and appearances for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s 7 Cedars Casino, including the July 1995 jump in front of 10,000 people, a charity poker run in July 2000, and Kaptain Knievel Days in July 2012. He last formally appeared at the casino in 2017, casino employees said.
“He was a lot of fun to have around and left us all with many stories,” said 7 Cedars CEO Jerry Allen.
Tjernell said Robbie Knievel once asked him to build ramps for his stunts, and that began a journey through 30 states from 2001-2007. That also included appearances for Tjernell on 13 episodes of Knievel’s reality show “Knievel’s Wild Ride” on the A&E network.
He fondly remembers Robbie playing foosball with him and going on many boat rides on the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Robbie’s boat.
“I love him and miss him,” Tjernell said.
Kelly Knievel said his brother died with three daughters at his side: Krysten Knievel Hansson of Chicago, Karmen Knievel of Missoula, Mont., and Maria Collins of Waldport, Ore.
Reporter Matthew Nash contributed to this report.