Bubba Blackwell, The American Daredevil
the age of eight, Bubba Blackwell, of Bon Secour, Alabama (the town
noted in the film Forest Gump), saw Evel Knievel on TV for the very
first time. From that moment on, BUBBA knew what he wanted to be when
he grew upa daredevil. Eager to start, he devised a jump on his
bicycle for the neighborhood kids jumping a line of garbage cans while
his Dad looked on. When his Mom came home, his Dad said, "Don't
bother going in, we're fixin' to go to the hospital," BLACKWELL
recalls. He added, " I made that
jump, which I think kind of surprised Dad. I think he was planning I
would miss and never do it again."
BLACKWELL'S love of motorcycles dates back to the
age of five, when he started on a mini-bike. After growing up and a
series of bikes that got progressively bigger, BUBBA gave motorcycle
road racing a try. After only on short year BUBBA rose to the title
of "AMA/CCS Heavyweight Superbike National Champion". BUBBA
actually won at the Daytona Super Speedway twice. A couple of serious
accidents on the racing circuit caused BUBBA to reevaluate his future
options. That's when he decided to dust off his childhood dream and
try his hand at doing stunt shows.
Since taking the leap into the world of motorcycle stunts, BUBBA BLACKWELL,
has thrilled scored of audiences around the country jumping cars, semi-trucks,
and busses astride his star-spangled Harley-Davidson XR-750. When BUBBA
rides into view, with his red, white and blue motorcycle and superhero
style leathers, a real "Captain America" comes alive, instantly
electrifying any crowd or audience. Recently, The Boston Herald
stated, "BUBBA BLACKWELL is the only
official Harley-Davidson daredevil to bring back the nostalgia and human
drama of the stunt jumping made popular
by the great Evel Knievel.
The Alabama Daredevil
freely admits that the legendary Evel Knievel is a major influence on
his own tailor-made stunt shows. "Knievel was definitely one of
the finest showman of his era; not just with motorcycles, but with drawing
in the general public's interest," Blackwell said. "No matter
how crazy people thought his stunts were, I think that deep down inside
everyone admired his courage and his unique presentation."
On April 26, 1998, BLACKWELL,
broke daredevil Evel Knievel's 1971 car jumping
record of 19 Dodge Colts by successfully clearing
20 cars on his Harley-Davidson
XR-750 motorcycle (the only person to beat
this record using the same type motorcycle) in front of Boston
Harley-Davidson/Buell in Everette, MA. An estimated crowd of
30,000 people watched as BUBBA took ownership of his first World
Record. It was a sensation.
Things from that point on happened quickly and BUBBA knew 1999 would
be a year unlike any other. He next set his sights on topping all of
Knievel's recordscar, semi-truck and bus jumps. In the days of
summer, BLACKWELL, also proceeded to break box office records, like
breaking the attendance record at the Del Mar, California
State Fair. BUBBA jumped 14 buses in front of 31,000 screaming fans
breaking the previous attendance record of 17,000 set by pop singer
Brandy. And he was the talk of Nashville, when he jumped at their
Riverfront Park in September. But, the best was yet to come.
year or two back, Jay Leno from "The Tonight
Show" first contacted BUBBA about doing a jump "live"
on national network TV. In October, that idea became a reality. The
date was October 22, 1999, and before 6.5
million people, BUBBA flew his Harley over 14 semi-trucks,
creating a name for himself in the record books and daredevil history."
Not only did he jump the 14 trucks, but he won over everyone involved
in the feat at their NBC-TV Burbank studios. BUBBA's showmanship, southern
charm, and thrill of thrills evoked the head of NBC to comment,
'It was the most exciting stunt on TV I've seen
During the sit-down
talk with host Jay Leno, BUBBA showed his sense of humor by saying,
"Do I really have to do this? You know,
what a country boy won't do to get on TV." When
it was rebroadcast on E! television's "Talk
Soup" they said, "BUBBA
made the jump, but tripped going to his car and broke every bone in
his body and burst into flames." BUBBA
was the talk of the country.
In November 1999, Bubba was one of the special
guests at the annual "Love Ride"
which starts at Glendale, California. He joined fellow Harley-Davidson
riders like Lorenzo Lamas and Peter Fonda. "Love Ride 16"
helped raise over $1 million for the LA Times sponsored child reading
program and Muscular Dystrophy. Another milestone.
2000, saw Blackwell complete the longest Harley-Davidson motorcycle
jump in history in downtown Las Vegas for the UPN TV show, "I
Dare You, the Ultimate Challenge". Bubba made it look easy
as he sailed his 400 lb. XR-750, over 15 tour buses with room to spare
completing the dream of being the ONLY daredevil to beat all Evel Knievel
jumping records using the same type motorcycle, and the same size ramps.
Bubba spent most of 2000 focusing on a complete show makeover. Having
noticed the Harley-Davidson inspired Buell motorcycle was generating
a lot of attention, Bubba decided to add much needed time filler to
the jump show, by performing the European style of riding called "Street
Fighter" with an American Flare. Acquiring full factory
sponsorship from Buell Motorcycle Company,
Bubba began the 2001 season with much excitement.
February 10, 2001 Bubba decided to retry
the jump performed on "The Tonight Show"
14 semi-truck jump again. If you watched closely, you would have noticed
the rear tire landed about two feet short on the safety ramp. Bubba
said later, "I gave my word that I would
clear 14, so I wanted to try again in my hometown." The
event took place in Foley, Alabama with over 10,000 people attending,
along with the London England based production film crew for the Discovery
Bubba flew well passed semi-truck #14 this time, and it was a big success
as a portion of the proceeds went to finalize the project of a Foley
Kids Park where a honorary Bubba Blackwell stone is now placed. With
the success of yet another Harley-Davidson world record, the call came
to return to Del Mar, CA. Having set the attendance record for a single
act in 1999, The management wanted to see what we could do next.
July 4, 2001 Bubba Blackwell almost lost
his life while attempting to clear 22 cars
on a deeply graded horse track. The surface of the track at first, was
acceptable and smoothly packed. After several speed runs, the surface
began being chewed up. Unfortunately, it was about 9:30 PM and too dark
to notice. Blackwell accelerated toward the ramp and was going very
fast and the engine was screaming. However, the traction wasn't there
and the bike was robbed of the speed necessary to clear the gap. The
result was one of the most shocking crashes ever caught on tape. In
a coma and placed on Life Support it was clear that Bubba would be in
for a long road to recovery. Bubba Blackwell was in the news around
the world. Since the July 4th accident, Bubba has been touring the country
performing stunt-riding shows at Harley-Davidson dealers and special
Bubba filled the year by performing his newly designed SAFE stunt riding
wheelie show, at nearly 20 different Harley-Davidson/Buell dealerships.
marked not only the 100th Anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company
but Bubba Blackwell's return to jumping. The Travel
Channel was on hand and filmed a special on Bubba's first jump
since July 4, 2001. In a small parking lot at Uke's Harley-Davidson/Buell
in Kenosha, Wisconsin. With the help of a 20'
high ski-ramp, Bubba sailed his XR-750 Harley-Davidson over 10
Peterbilt Trucks. 25,000 people cheered
as Bubba marked his return to the Daredevil World with the successful
100' leap. Two weeks later saw the All American Daredevil clear 15
new Porsche cars in Reading, Pennsylvania at Classic Harley-Davidson/Buell.
Was the busiest year to date of coast to coast stunt riding only shows.
Bubba performed at over 30 different Harley-Davidson dealerships plus
a few special events.
decision was made to offer a more exciting option to the stunt riding
only shows. Three days after Bubba's first-born child "Regan
Faye" was born, Bubba was back at Uke's Harley-Davidson/Buell
flying his HOG. The jump was successful and other jumps in 2005 included
the Kansas State HOG Rally, Morgan Hill, CA. Rossville, GA. South Padre
Island, TX. And the biggest jump of the year over 16
cars near home in Loxley, AL. Although starting his family with
daughter Regan Faye, Bubba is still committed to being the most entertaining
motorcycle rider currently touring.
2006 saw Bubba performing at over 30
events including 5 jumps coast to coast. One notable jump was
at Collier Harley-Davidson in Roanoke Rapids NC. Easter Sunday. Not
sure if it was a good or bad day for the event, thousands came to see
Bubba in the small town.
brought a few new changes. 2007 Laramie Edition
Dodge Dually, a 2007 44' custom tow trailer, with the addition
of a Harley-Davidson V-Rod, and Factory
Customized Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson Electraglide.
Bubba had one of the most successful tours to date with an early stop
to perform for the Riley's Children's Hospital fund raising event at
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bubba performed along with good friend
country singer Darron Norwood, at no charge
and even donated a custom painted 1200cc Harley-Davidson Sportster.
2008 started quickly with a jump at a new
Harley-Davidson dealership in Carrolton TX. Followed by the airing of
a History Channel show "Shockwave"
where Bubba and crew member Jason Young reminisced about the 2001 Del
Mar Crash. Bubba traveled on to Miami FL. for a jump at PetersonŐs Harley-Davidson
where the first experience of the soon-to-be frightening fuel prices
started to show itself. With bookings in New Jersey, Montana, Texas,
back to Pennsylvania and so on including the first Muskegon
Bike Time Jump in Michigan, paying for Fuel was the biggest challenge
of the year leading into the last known Evel Knievel record. Evel Knievel
once jumped 50 crushed cars in Los Angeles CA. and it was pointed out
that Bubba hadn't bested that jump. A jump over
52 crushed cars was planned for a return visit to Deep South
Speedway in Loxley AL. The average crowd at the 1/2 mile clay dirt track
was about 750 at a $10/ticket fee. With the excitement of Bubba Blackwell's
return and the record attempt, the promoter doubled the admission price
to $20 and a record crowd of 6,500 fans
drove in from all over the south east to see another successful XR750
record go down.
2009 Bubba again had a very successful
tour year performing with the addition of two riders added to the show.
The slowing economy was taking its effect as only about 20 stunt shows
and a hand full of jumps happened. The most notable was Bubba's first
visit for a Jump over 12 new pick-up Trucks
at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion IL.
2010 was a bit of a bounce back year as
it started with Bubba jumping his XR750 in Amarillo TX. at Tripp's Harley-Davidson
in March. Additionally, the decision was made by Harley-Davidson Motor
Company to close the doors on the Buell motorcycle company. Buell motorcycles
where the easiest motorcycles to stunt ride, but the challenge came
quick, and met, to convert two Harley-Davidson Nightster models to the
Bubba Blackwell show. Weather held up in Amarillo and the crowd was
spectacular. Bubba and the two riders had shows almost every weekend
during the summer. Alefs Harley-Davidson dealership in Wichita Kansas
was the most notable jump of the year, as the event drew the dealership's
largest crowd (est. 7,500) for the annual open house event. The
owners even quipped "We'd of had an even
bigger crowd if there would have been room for them to park".
Bubba Blackwell took back the reins of performing with passion. Bubba
admitted he wasn't inspired as the challenge of working with different
and less ambitious personalities took an effect on his performance.
The year started with BubbaŐs 20lb weight loss and fire returned into
his eye and a spectacular "Closed Circuit"
world record jump attempt, January and back at Peterson's Harley-Davidson
in Miami FL. Bubba performed a ramp to ramp jump over 42 EMC2 Computer
Storage cabinets for a Private Satellite performance in a commercial
fashion, to all of the companies customers, all over the world. Later,
the jump was released on YouTube for additional exposure and has had
countless views. Bubba then traveled for many more jumps and shows returning
close to home in the heat June, to meet and film an episode of "Only
in America with Larry the Cable Guy". Larry and Bubba presented
a challenge to the film crew as the pair laughed and joked like long
lost friends. Bubba performed a very big jump over Coca-Cola trucks
and the film crew as well as Larry himself, enjoyed an exciting glimpse
into the world of Bubba Blackwell and his crew.
Bubba headed west for his first jump of the year. As Bubba drove to
Fresno CA. he came up on an over turned freight truck, near Barstow
at 3am. Unable to see early enough to stop, Bubba slammed into the over
turned load scattered all over the Interstate. The impact blew out five
tires and beat up the truck and trailer but Bubba was able to get the
truck stopped safely. The next early hours of the day spent finding
tires and getting to Fresno. Despite the eventful trip the jump over
10 semi-trucks was a success as too was the event "Spokes
and Rods" benefiting Terry's House. On to House of Thunder
Harley-Davidson in Morgan Hill CA. for a fun time cruising Street-Glide
Harleys over the Golden Gate Bridge and later a Stunt Show. That was
it for the west coast, and back to performances at Chicago IL. Jamestown
NY. Gettysburg PA. Houma LA. Milwaukee WI. Charlotte NC., and Three
Jumps in a row in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma interrupted with a flight
to the Beverly Hills Hilton to film a guest hosting appearance for MSNBC's
100th episode of "Caught on Camera".
The excitement level was at an all-time high as a production company
that had contacted Bubba, sold an idea to Discovery
Channel. First, a "Sizzle Reel"
was shot, edited and produced. Less than 2% of all of these 15-20
minute films are picked up and go forward. Discovery Channel
LOVED it and the plan was to find a great location for an exciting
Bubba Blackwell performance. February 2013 Bubba started "Hey
Y'all Let's Ride" benefit motorcycle ride for the Bay Area
Food Bank. Although nonstop rain, the event ended at Gulf Shores and
was still a big success.
After a very successful
May 28th stunt show at Brandt's Harley-Davidson in Wabash IN. it was
time for the big planned TV show jump to be filmed... It would be another
world first for Bubba and his Harley- Davidson XR750. Leaping
two running helicopters back at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion
IL. BUBBA and crew worked for a week building platforms for his
7' high take off ramp, to be able to clear the 11' high helicopter blades.
As the date became closer, the stress level grew when time ran out and
it would be clear that no practice could be allowed. The new dimension
of filming a TV show has it's challenges and as if God stepped in to
protect ol' Bubba, jump date was a wash out with rain... This caused
many changes and the 20+ film crew members flew back to their homes
only to return the very next Saturday. Sometimes, an event loses momentum
when weather becomes an issue and the event is postponed. Not this one!
Again, Thousands filled the fields near the jump and Bubba flew over
120' on his XR750.
had several other bigger than normal jumps later that year including
performing in front of 75,000 spectators at Summit
Dragway's "Night Under Fire" in Norwalk OH. Harley-Davidson
110th Anniversary celebration in Wisconsin, plus a big jump in Kalispell
MT. where Bubba ski-ramped into a small 1/4 oval racetrack and do a
100' ramp gap jump, then try and stop. BUBBA later said "I
just wanted to see if it would scare the desire to still go big, out
of me". Bubba later said, "It
didn't bother me a bit and I'm looking forward to the next one".
BUBBA closed the year with a very enthusiastic night time performance
in Destin FL. for the Florida State HOG Rally.
Is already shaping up to be BUBBA's finest year to date. Several jumps
are already in contract but possible the most exciting event planned
is the new Discovery Channel TV Show "Heirs
to the Dare". March 10, 2014 is the scheduled air date set
for the premier following lead in show "Fast-N-Loud" at 10pm
/ 9pm cst.