"It's overwhelming:" Knievel granddaughter impressed by tribute to icon's legacy

Published: Jul. 24, 2018 at 10:29 PM CDT
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Krysten Kneivel pointed to a video playing in one of the displays at the Evel Kneivel Museum and smiled as her two-year-old son Chase claimed he recognized the young man on the motorcycle.

"You see Grandpa Robby?" Krysten asked him.

Krysten is the daughter of motorcycle daredevil Robby Kneivel, who followed in the footsteps of his father - Krysten's grandfather - Evel Kneivel.

Tuesday was Krysten's first visit to the museum honoring the man considered the grandfather of extreme sports that opened just over a year ago at Historic Topeka Harley Davidson. Krysten, her husband Jeff and their son wanted through the walls of photos, outfits, and motorcycles capturing the icon's story and achievements.

"It's overwhelming - in a good way!" Krysten said.

Museum director Bruce Zimmerman and Historic Topeka Harley Davidson owner Mike Patterson guided the family through the displays. Krysten gasped at the collection of letters children wrote to Evel when he was hospitalized following a crash; chuckled at her father's long, shaggy 70s hairdo; and happily climbed the stairs for a personal tour of Big Red, Evel's fully restored Mack Truck.

"I look around and it's like, 'Oh, cool! There's a lot of pictures of my grandfather - and isn't that neat,' but it's strange to think that maybe for other people, they're getting that same reaction I get maybe to Elvis," Krysten said. "This is their hero. Look at the impact that this man has had on so many people for generations."

The impact continued with the next generation. Krysten's father Robby performed alongside his dad, and in his own shows. Both now influence her own entertainment career- as a musician.

"Definitely the performance aspect. My grandfather influenced me as far as like - the show must go on; he told people you show up, you do your job, you act professional. Always be humble - that's the one thing that my dad always taught me. You treat the CEO the same way that you treat the maintenance worker," she said.

While she has her own view of Evel as a grandfather, she says the museum helps others feel a connection to him as well.

"You get that feeling when you look at the red, white, and blue, and everything that he had and his leathers and what he wore and what he stood for - and I want people to look at him and say, 'That's an American icon. That's America. That's what America represents,'" she said.

Krysten and her family live in Illinois. She travels with her band,