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Knievel's son plans to form new nonprofit corporation for festival

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 08 2014 06:05:22 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 08 2014 06:11:57 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Evel Knievel's son Kelly said he will form a new nonprofit corporation to take over the annual Knievel Days festival.

Last month, Butte-Silver Bow and Kelly Knievel asked the festival organizing committee to enter into an operating agreement with the city. Knievel, the rights holder to the Evel Knievel name, wanted to license the family name to the city rather than the organizing committee.

So far, festival organizers have refused, saying it's an attempt by the city to squeeze the committee out and take over the festival.

According to Knievel, he is abandoning his plan to license the Evel Knievel name to the city because it could be a conflict of interest.

This latest move comes after Knievel slammed festival organizer Chad Harrington in voicemails, threatening to destroy Harrington.

Chad Harrington played NBC Montana the voicemail Kelly Knievel left on his phone last week. "You're going to sign that agreement with Butte-Silver Bow and you're going to move along as the director of the committee and change your ways or I'm going to destroy you," Knievel allegedly said on the recording.

Knievel owns the Evel Knievel name and has been a driving force to get the Evel Knievel Days organizing committee to sign a new agreement with Butte-Silver Bow. He admits they were harsh and that he had been upset.

"I guess they were pretty harsh, I was mad things weren't being done correctly and it looks to me like I'm losing the PR war," he said.

In a news release dated April 7, Knievel detailed his issues with the current organizers -- concerns over contracts and finances, the festivals atmosphere, even the committee's bylaws.

"They still make reference that the committee is supposed to give Evel Knievel a report and lay eyes on Evel Knievel, and I mean my dad's been gone seven years," Knievel said.

We asked Harrington about Kelly's concerns -- he contends his committee has done everything correctly and put on a successful festival for more than a decade.

"We're extremely transparent. We have a local accounting firm do all of our accounting for us, they file all the internal revenue," said Harrington.

He concedes that this whole situation has put festival organization behind schedule.

"The word that we've been told originally was by the chief executive that the city was taking over the event. Now Kelly is taking over the event so we're in limbo," said Harrington.

Harrington said he is unsure what is next, if and when Kelly Knievel forms his own committee and signs an agreement with the city.

Some form of operating agreement needs to be hammered out with the city before anyone can start planning this year's event. So far, both sides appear to be at a deadlock.

Knievel has withdrawn his request to license the name to the city and the issue will not be heard at next week's city commission meeting.