"If you mention Robbie Knievel," snarls motorcyclist Gary Wells, "you're just wastin' your ink!" This, of course, virtually ensures that I will mention Knievel fils, and in the first sentence, no less. "I'm the World Champion," continues Valley resident Wells. "I jumped over 30 cars in Melbourne, Australia, twenty years ago. All this hoopla and bullshit, pardon my French, about Robbie Knievel is just that. I've got $50,000 cash waitin' for anyone who wants to try to outjump me. He hasn't taken the challenge."
The Melbourne jump to which Wells refers took place in 1980, and spanned, we are assured, 176 feet, 4 and one-half inches. Out of the 110 world-record jumps that Wells can boast, he's had only one accident -- the crash he suffered in 1980 jumping the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Five months after recovering from this wipeout -- "which would have killed a lesser man," Wells' press materials modestly assert -- he was back on tour.
Wells, who has just demonstrated some wheelies on a Confederate CSA Wildcat motorcycle to a photographer and me in the parking lot of Tiffany's, using an enormous limousine and three of the ladies from that club as a backdrop, emphatically insists that he is not a "daredevil" or a "stunt man." The term that Wells prefers is "Motorcyclist Extraordinaire." "I'm a professional entertainer. Look up 'stunt man' in the dictionary -- it'll say, 'somebody who stands in for an actor.' I don't stand in for anybody. I'm the guy."
The following is not, at least as far as I know, an April Fools' Joke: The "Motorcyclist Extraordinaire," mounted on that same Confederate CSA Wildcat, jumps over BTO(a.k.a. Bachman-Turner Overdrive) while the group performs "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" during its Saturday, April 1, show, "High Flying Rock Jam" at WestWorld of Scottsdale. If you want to witness this one-of-a-kind pop event, tickets are only $10. And if, God forbid, anything goes wrong, you might turn up in news footage on a future episode of VH1's Behind the Music.
"High Flying Rock Jam" featuring BTO and cyclist Gary Wells is slated for Saturday, April 1, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company shares the bill. For tickets and details call 480-503-5555 (Dillard's) or 1-800-638-4253.