Bloomington 'rocket man' helps recreate Evel Knievel jump

- For 65 years, Ky Michaelson has had a need for speed. But, the Bloomington man’s lifelong love of rockets is now propelling him to new heights.

Michaelson spent 30 years as a Hollywood stunt man, working on movies from Sharkey's Machine to Drop Dead Fred.

He holds 72 national and international speed records. But last month he helped re-create one the world's most famous stunts.

Back in the mid 70's, Michaelson offered to build a rocket for daredevil Evel Knievel to jump across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

Knievel ultimately decided to build his own, but his parachute opened early, causing his rocket to fall into the canyon below.

The jump was broadcast on closed circuit television across the country, making Knievel a household name.

"Outside of going to the moon, I don't think there is anything we can compare it to. Everybody in the world knew about Evel Knievel's jump," Michaelson said.

42 years later, Michaelson helped stunt man Eddie Braun recreate Knievel's infamous jump by overseeing many of the safety improvements on the project.

Michaelson's team made the parachutes out of bullet proof material to help Braun and his "Evel Spirit" rocket land safely on the other side of the canyon, while Michaelson and his son Buddy watched the jump from just a few feet away.

"To me, this was quite an opportunity because its the world's greatest stunt. Although we didn't have the hoopla. We didn't want it. We did it to accomplish something that Evel Knievel could never do," Michaelson said.

Michaelson says becoming the first private citizen to put a rocket in space is his finest achievement. but helping make history with the son he hopes will follow in his footsteps is also out of this world.

"I was really proud to be a part of this team and to have my son stand by my side," Michaelson said.

Michaelson says Hollywood is making a movie about the re-created jump called "Forever Evel".

As for him, he's building a rocket-powered sled to take to Sweden to set a new world record by going over 300 miles an hour on ice.

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