Famous For Fifteen Minutes: Grand Canyon Stunts

July 10, 2013

There’s something about America’s biggest hole in the ground that seems to lure thrill-seekers into believing that they simply must risk their lives and navigate it somehow. In June, seventh-generation tightrope walker Nik Wallenda successfully walked over the Grand Canyon on a two-inch-wide cable, without a safety harness or net while the Colorado River roared thousands of feet below him. (And all on live TV.)

grand canyon stunts

Here are two more possibly less-than-sane individuals and their death-defying Grand Canyon stunts.

In 2010, magician/performance artist Criss Angel performed what he called a “teleportation jump” over the Grand Canyon for an episode of his reality show Mindfreak. First, he rode a three-wheeled motorcycle toward a ramp on the edge of a cliff. A cage suspended from a helicopter hovered over the middle of the canyon a few hundred yards away. Once Angel hit the ramp, the motorcycle exploded and he “magically” reappeared…in the cage. While there’s a certain amount of risk involved in performing an elaborate illusion like this, that’s just what it was: an illusion. We won’t spoil its secrets (because we can’t figure out how he did it), but you can watch the trick here:

Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel successfully (and unsuccessfully) jumped over a lot of things in the ‘60s and ‘70s—long lines of cars and trucks, the fountains at Caesars Palace, the Snake River Canyon. But one thing he was never able to attempt was a jump over the Grand Canyon. Supposedly, the U.S. Department of the Interior nixed his plans in 1973 (that’s when he tried—and failed—to make it across the Snake River Canyon). In 1999, his son, Robbie Knievel, decided to give it another shot. He negotiated to jump his motorcycle over a section of the Grand Canyon that was in the jurisdiction of the Hualapai tribe. The younger Knievel successfully completed the 228-foot jump…although he did lose control of his bike after it landed and broke his leg.