Museum dedicated to Evel Knievel's daredevil exploits opens in US

Mike Patterson, owner of historic Harley-Davidson and founder of The Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas, surveying the wall of news clippings about the daredevil stunt rider in his Evel Knievel Museum on June 21, 2017.
Mike Patterson, owner of historic Harley-Davidson and founder of The Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas, surveying the wall of news clippings about the daredevil stunt rider in his Evel Knievel Museum on June 21, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

TOPEKA, United States (AFP) - Step through the doors of the Evel Knievel Museum in Kansas and you come face to face with a bright red semi-truck.

It is the oversized home of the larger-than-life American stuntman when he was on tour in the 1960s and 1970s.

The truck is restored to look as it did decades ago, with the ramps used by the famed motorcyclist to achieve his jumps stored in the back.

Knievel reached worldwide recognition with death-defying performances.

"He was just a cultural leader. And I think whether you liked him or not, everyone watched," said Mr Mike Patterson, founder of The Evel Knievel Museum, which officially opens on Friday in the Kansas state capital of Topeka.

Born Robert Craig Knievel, the daredevil star died in 2007 at 69.

The new institution - sanctioned by his family - aims to celebrate his legacy with memorabilia, including four of his motorcycles and colourful outfits.

There are videos of jumps from all over the world - from nearby Kansas City to London's Wembley Stadium - and a virtual reality ride that allows visitors to sit astride a motorcycle and experience a jump.