Evel Knievel Days canceled for 2018

Posted at 1:35 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 15:35:19-04

The festival dedicated to Evel Knievel – Butte native “King of the Daredevils” – has been officially canceled this year after being an annual event for the last 15 years.

This summer’s three-day Evel Knievel Days festival has been canceled due to lack of funding, according to a statement released by the festival’s organizers. The festival was set for July 26-28, but organizers were unable to raise the $200,000 needed to hold the festival this year.

Festival organizers claim they were unable to get local sponsorships and donations to help cover the costs of the festival.

“Asking local businesses to shoulder multiple major events within a few weeks of each other is unfair and unsustainable. Evel Knievel Daredevil Days is the latest victim of this unfortunate reality,” according to a statement from the event organizers received by email to MTN News on Monday.

Last year, the festival lost $100,000 in funding from the Superfund Advisory and Redevelopment Trust Advisory board and only received $25,000 like Butte’s other free festivals.

Evel Knievel Days were started in 2002 but went through an organizational change in 2014 after having a dispute with Evel Knievel’s son, Kelly Knievel.

Butte’s other free summer festival, the Montana Folk Festival, and An Ri Ra Irish Festival will continue as scheduled. 

(MARCH 21, 2018) The man who started Evel Knievel Days 18 years ago says he’s ready to launch the event again. But without money, it could crash and burn.

“Right now I’m hoping we can get some answers in the next two weeks, at least to figure out if it’s going to go or if it isn’t. And if the funding’s available, we’re going to charge forward and make it happen. But without the funding, it’s not going to happen,” said Bill Rundle, who has taken over organizing this year’s festival.

Rundle, who was a close friend of Evel Knievel’s, started the event in 2000. While the event has changed organizers over the years, he’s taking the wheel again to try to save it. He says he needs at least $200,000 keep it going this summer — and believes the event is important for Butte.

“And if it wasn’t for Evel Knievel Days, I don’t know if the folk festival would be here or, you know, we’d be the festival city. It’s the oldest running festival and I just hope to God we can keep it going,” Rundle said.

Evel Knievel Days have always been about the Dare Devil and the bikes and Bill Rundle says that if Evel Knievel were alive today, he’d want this festival to continue.

“I know that he always told me before he passed away, ‘Billy, keep it going, keep it going,’ so there’s been a lot of people that have tried hard to keep it going so hopefully we can continue to do that,” Rundle said.

Copper Canyon Harley-Davidson also wants to see the festival continue.

“It’s very important to keep Evel Knievel Days going. It’s great for business, it brings a lot of people to town. It’s a great event, we all look forward to it every summer,” said Curtis Moen.

But without funding, this festival may have had its last ride. If the festival gets the funding it will be held at its usual time on the last weekend of July.

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