It’s too bad that Evel Knievel, who was 69 when he died from diabetes and lung disease in 2007, never got the chance to visit the museum dedicated to his life and memory. He would have been as overwhelmed and impressed as any visitor by the sprawling, artifact-packed Official Evel Knievel Museum.
Mike Patterson, who owns Historic Harley-Davidson of Topeka, Kansas, and a number of partners came up with the idea for the museum. You can read a detailed account of the venture by clicking here. While Topeka is a questionable choice to locate the museum, Mike’s passion and commitment to make it happen can’t be faulted. Las Vegas (The Caesar’s Palace Jump) or Butte, Montana, (where Evel was born) may have been better locations for attracting visitors but neither location had a Mike Patterson to champion the idea.
The biggest drawback to the museum’s location is that the place needs to be enjoyed over multiple visits. The sheer volume of historical information and artifacts is too large to digest in one visit. This is a place I would visit a few times a year if my travels took me through Topeka.
If you are a die-hard Evel fan, chances are you’ve already made the trip. If you have future plans to visit the museum, let me recommend that you plan to split your time over a two-day visit to the hallowed halls. Trying to cram everything in during a single visit can be frustrating and exhausting. And, if you are into barbecue, don’t miss Henry’s Grill in the Historic Harley-Davidson building. Heck, they even have a hair salon in case you are feeling a little shaggy. Wonder if they offer an Evel cut?