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Robbie, white and blue: Knievel jump successful at Valdosta

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

VALDOSTA -- Legendary daredevil Robbie Knievel brought a large crowd together to witness his 200-foot motorcycle jump across the Wild Adventures lake Saturday as part of the park's All-American Weekend.

"It's a privilege to be here with some of the loudest and nicest people," Knievel said.

With the crowd waiting in anticipation, Knievel test drove a few bikes down the ramp to pick which one he wanted to ride when attempting the stunt.

Riding down the 30-foot ramp at about 75 to 80 miles per hour, Knievel cleared the approximate length of 30 cars as fireworks went off.

Twelve barges, weighing 117 tons, were shipped from Florida to support the ramp, which was covered in special blue paint to provide a grip for Knievel's landing.

"The force of him landing is like falling out of a three-story building," said Micha Hogan, Wild Adventures' public relations coordinator.

After the successful jump, Knievel made a victory lap riding in a boat along the edge of the lake as fans clapped and cheered.

Many first-time stunt viewers attended the event, excited to see Knievel jump.

"I enjoyed watching his dad on TV," said Wayne Thomley of Dothan, Ala. "I'm really big into motorcycles. I like Harleys. I've just always wanted to see one of these live."

Rob Cathcart, of Live Oak, Fla., attended the event with his family.

"(This is) my first time in person," he said. "I remember watching his dad (Evel Knievel) as a kid (my son's age)."

Before the show, Cathcart looked at the bikes of Evel and Robbie Knievel that Wild Adventures had on display.

"Looking at the bikes comparing his to his dad's, it's like night and day," he said.

Brandi Crisco, of Kingsland, came to the park with her husband and two young children and thought the show was "just something to get away and see," she said. "We come to Wild Adventures all the time."

Crisco has watched stunts on television before and her son was excited to see the show, she said.

Karen Davis, of Cairo, came with her husband and children, who were all looking forward to the stunt.

"We have the yearly pass and we just saw online that he was coming," she said.

Children and adults of all ages stood surrounding the lake, some waiting for a couple hours before the show. While the stunt show started an hour late and many people were getting restless, most of the crowd felt the event was well worth the wait.

"It was pretty cool," Cathcart said. "He made it pretty safe. That was worth it."

Thomley won two tickets to Wild Adventures after calling in on radio station Star 100.5. Witnessing the stunt live was a worthwhile experience for him.

"That was good, I liked it," Thomley said. "That was something else."