BUTTE – The Butte Daredevil and son of Evel Knievel has gone home – passed away at 60. That’s not a long life, but those who knew him said he lived many lifetimes in those years.
“He died at 60, which is way too young, you know, but he lived 100 Knievel years. Robbie was always on the move and he had a great spirit, but he’s a peace now and we can thank God for that,” said longtime friend and assistant Bill Rundle.
Knievel died from pancreatic cancer at home in Nevada on Jan. 13. His brother, Kelly, said Robbie was a dedicated performer.
“He just happened to be in the business of risking his life and just had to come up with new ways of keeping people interested and excited and, you know, that involved risking his life and that takes a certain kind of guy to do that,” said Kelly Knievel.
Bill Rundle spent decades assisting Robbie Knievel with his stunts.
“You know there’s no question in my mind that Robbie was the greatest motorcycle jumper ever in his time. He was a much better rider than his father and Robbie just had a lot of talent,” said Rundle.
Freeway Tavern Manger and life-long friend Kathi Faroni added, “I remember being on so many jumps with Robbie and the little kids come up and he’d go right over to them and sign autographs or give them something. Robbie was just so good to so many people.”
Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher remembers his first time meeting him as a kid.
“I was going to deliver my paper route when I was 13 years old and I found him wrecked on his motorbike underneath the underpass on Harrison Avenue and he actually was unconscious and got taken to the hospital. That’s kind of the life Robbie lived, he lived on the edge all the time,” said Gallagher.
Rundle was able to call Robbie just before his death.
“It was really hard to say goodbye and he knew I was there, and I just wanted to tell him I loved him…and it was a great ride,” he said.
A funeral service is being arranged in Butte where Knievel will be buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Butte.