Evel Knievel Days dispute continues


BUTTE, Mont. - Evel Knievel's son Kelly Knievel wants the city -- not the Evel Knievel Days Committee -- to handle marketing the Knievel brand. Knievel told NBC Montana the city can do a better job and laid out exactly what he wants in two recent emails -- one to Butte-Silver Bow and one to festival organizer Chad Harrington. Knievel said the festival should be run to the same standards as other Butte festivals, like the Folk Festival. "The Evel Knievel brand has taken on the status of a big, major brand," said Knievel. "We need agreements in place for the licensing of our intellectual property. Even though we're not charging for it, we still need an agreement in place." The whole argument boils down to an operating agreement. Jay Ellington handles the operating agreements between festival committee's and the city. It is a boilerplate deal. "For the festivals, it is an operating agreement that we've had for a number of years, very similar to what we have for the Folk Festival," said Ellington. The Folk Festival agreement gave the committee a number of responsibilities, including choosing its own performers, arranging liability insurance and maintaining a volunteer database. In all, 19 obligations for the committee and three for Butte-Silver Bow. The city will provide emergency services, block off streets and make funds available. "We're asking them to work with that agreement, adopt that and for their particular festival preparation and move forward with it," said Ellington. But Evel Knievel Days Committee Executive Director Chad Harrington said there is one section in the Evel Knievel Days agreement draft that isn't in the Folk Festival agreement. "We can't sign an agreement on the behalf of Knievel Days, because there's a clause in the agreement that refers to the agreement between the Knievel family and the city. That agreement is nonexistent so far," said Harrington. Harrington is talking about the licensing agreement that Kelly Knievel wants the city -- not the committee -- to handle. Harrington thinks what Knievel wants could hurt taxpayers. "We know what we do and if we reduce that to writing that's fine with us. That's not the issue, we just don't want any agreement that takes our event and puts the city of Butte in any unwanted liability situation," said Harrington. Harrington's worried the dispute over licensing will cost the volunteers. But for now, one piece of paper has the festival honoring one of Butte's native sons in limbo. Butte-Silver Bow's Council of Commissioners will consider Knievel's proposal at the Council meeting on April 16.