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Evel Comes to Cooperville

By Tom Ran

Published: April 28, 2014 under Publishing

Evel Knievel walks towards his famed Harley Davidson XR 750

Photo: Evel Comes to Cooperville

Evel Knievel walks towards his famed Harley Davidson XR 750

An unkown biker crossing the finishline.

Photo: Evel Comes to Cooperville

An unkown biker crossing the finishline.

Evel Comes to Cooperville

Photo: Evel Comes to Cooperville

Evel Comes to Cooperville

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The lore that surrounds Evel Knievel might have diminished through the years but the name still sticks out whenever it is mentioned. There has never been a stuntman that has achieved the level of fame and recognition that Knievel had achieved. His stunts captivated the nation as he attempted his ramp-to-ramp jumps across a canyon, double decker busses, and Ford Mustangs while setting a record for the “most bones broken in a lifetime.” He had many high profile jumps that were nationally recognized and many more that were forgotten in towns across the US. One in particular was in June of 1972 at the Oklahoma Fair Grounds. It may have been forgotten forever had it not been for Garrett Colton. The grandson of Jack Cooper, he was a car dealer who orchestrated Knievel’s presence that summer weekend. Colton discovered a dusty box of negatives from the festivities in his grandfather’s attic. Knievel being driven around in a pace car, Knievel’s semi-trailer truck operation, and the excitement surrounding the event. Over four decades later a book has been published in conjunction with Done To Death Projects. “Evel Comes to Cooperville” serves as a time capsule in American pop culture of the events that unfolded that weekend. It was a time when dirt bikes were king and how a lone daredevil could captivate a town with his presence.

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