We have some Evel things to worry about

So this is it, huh folks?

We watched the Butte Copper Kings leave town after the 2000 baseball season without so much as a peep.

We watched the stadium that housed the Copper Kings and our American Legion baseball teams get torn down without notice, and nobody said a word.

We let our kids go without an outdoor swimming pool in the heat of the summer because we didn’t want to pay a few extra bucks in taxes.

The Montana Power Company disappeared, along with the nest eggs of so many. The mines closed. They tore down the Columbia Gardens.

Silver Bow Creek by the Butte Civic Center has water that is more toxic than the water in the Berkeley Pit, and the State of Montana seems to be OK with that.

None of that, though, seems to cause much of an uproar.

But if you threaten to take away our three-day festival of stunts, drunkenness and debauchery that is Evel Knievel Days, and, holy cow, all hell breaks loose.

Let’s start the impeachment process. Better yet, let’s get a rope.

By golly, if we don’t get to see Keith Sayers and the boys jump on those motorcycles come late July, it is time to riot. If we don’t have a Wallenda walking a tight rope somewhere in Uptown Butte, we absolutely have to overthrow the city-county government.

I know I am not alone in saying that I am going to throw a fit if I don’t get to watch the motocross races this summer.

There had better be some guy on fire jumping off one of our tall buildings or I want a full refund of my local taxes.

Of course, the first order of business in conducting a proper overreaction is to be uninformed or only partly informed on the matter. Thankfully we had some incomplete and a bit one-sided newspaper coverage to help fuel that fire.

That helped social media go nuts, and people were calling for the head of our chief executive after the committee that has run Evel Days — and run it well — decided to walk away amidst a dispute with the county and Kelly Knievel, the eldest son of the legendary dare devil who gave his name to the festival.

The dispute went past the point of reason when Kelly Knievel, who apologized for threatening to move the festival out of town, dropped some cuss words in a threatening voicemail message to the director of the Evel Days Organizing Committee in what had to be the second-biggest public relations blunder in family history.

That’s when the old committee decided to walk away, taking the “high road” by leaking the voicemails to the newspaper and put it on its Youtube channel. The paper bit and turned the circus into a full-fledged fiasco.

Since chief executive Matt Vincent is Knievel’s brother-in-law, we apparently have to blame him for the ill-advised — to say the least — messages.

Man, I hope nobody ever judges me by voicemails left by my brother-in-law.

Like everyone else, I am a big fan of Evel Knievel Days. I attended them all from way back in the day when it was Evel Knievel Week. I even took part when they got cute and called it Evel Knievel Dayz.

My favorite part of the summer is taking the kids to see Sayers and the boys put on a show, and I hope to do that for years to come.

The bet here is that I will. A new committee has been formed with the goal of moving forward with the festival.

Of course, you can’t just throw such an event together overnight. The mere thought of such a thing is a slap in the face of all the fine men and women who have worked so hard to bring us the magic all those years.

So, it is only fair to suspect this year’s festival could possibly lack some of the luster of years past.

Who knows, maybe it will even be better in the future. Best guess, though, is as long as people are allowed drink beer in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and Main, everything will be just fine.

Or maybe, just maybe, Evel Days will go away forever.

For bar and restaurant owners, that would be bad news. Very bad news. Actually, it would be bad news for all of us, so we can only hope that doesn’t happen.

If it does, though, maybe we could use those three days in late July for us to collectively come together and worry about much more important things.

Like the three-eyed fish in Silver Bow Creek.

—Bill Foley, who worries about everything, writes a column that appears on ButteSports.com on Tuesdays. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74. 1 comment

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1 Comment

  • Arch Ecker
    April 15, 2014, 10:54 am

    Foles, as usual, you are spot on. I was fortunate to participate in EK Days for 6 years both as a musical performer with “Venus Alley” and as part of the beer-swilling masses on the aformentioned intersection. I’ve planned to be in Butte for this summers festival and was relieved to see the festival will go on. I applaud the efforts of Bill Rundle and the countless others whose contributions to the cause were crucial. Maybe we can set up a Silver Bow Creek fishing derby with a sweet prize for whoever catches “Blinky” the three eyed fish. Blinky Dayz. Keep up the great work, and I’ll see you in July!


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