New nonprofit corporation to take over Evel Knievel Days
BUTTE, Mont. - The secretary of state certified a new nonprofit corporation to take over the Evel Knievel days festival. Earlier this week, the executive director of the previous festival announced his committee was calling it quits. A dispute had broken out between that committee, the city and Evel Knievel naming rights holder Kelly Knievel. The new board will be made up of 11 members and includes Evel Knievel's former wife, Krystal Knievel. We sat down with one of the new board members to learn more about the festival's future. Business owner Terri James is one of 11 members on the new Evel Days committee. It's the same committee set up by Evel Knievel's son Kelly and includes three members of the last organizing committee. "We just need to come together as a town and get this thing going and get some planning done so we can make this event happen," said James. James told us the committee's already set at least one new goal ahead of their first meeting on Monday. "We want to make it really kid-friendly and turn it back to what it was in the beginning," she said. Organizers have recruited stunt man Spanky Spangler, who headlined the festival in 2011, and music performer Tim Montana, a Butte native, to help select festival performers. "We have big plans for performers, some really big names, and I don't know if I'm supposed to name any names, but I'm just going to put this out there, Mat Hoffman is definitely coming," said James. Hoffman, a professional BMX bike stunt rider, would be one of the festival's biggest acts to-date. "It's the one event out of the year that I love more than anything," said Motorcorss Stunt Man Keith Sayers. We wanted to know what past performers thought of a change in festival direction. Sayers performed in the past nine Evel Knievel Days. He said the past committee did a lot of good work. "It's just a really unfortunate situation for the community, the kids and everyone," he said. "Every year the committee works extremely hard to produce it better and better." Sayers said he takes pride in performing in his hometown and is optimistic the festival will continue. "Butte's where I've been born and raised and all I know is we're on the right tack, topped last years show, so I hope this can all be worked out and something good can come of it all," said Sayers. For Terri James and the other new organizers, they say their No. 1 priority is to bring people to Butte, and they hope this new direction will grow on the festival's past successes. When the committee meets for the first time next week it will adopt bylaws and elect officers.