Bubba Blackwell, The American Daredevil


At 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 up—a 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 records—car, 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.

A 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 in years."

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.

January 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 Channel. 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 events.

2002 Bubba filled the year by performing his newly designed SAFE stunt riding wheelie show, at nearly 20 different Harley-Davidson/Buell dealerships.

2003 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.

2004 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.

2005 The 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.

2007
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".

2011 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.

2012 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".

2013 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.

BUBBA 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.

2014 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.