Scott Truax was just six years old when Evel Knievel failed to jump the Snake River Canyon in a purpose-built Skycycle X-2 in 1974.
For Truax, the failure hit home as his father – former Navy engineer Robert Truax – had designed the steam-powered rocket. Robert Truax found himself ridiculed by many – including Knievel himself – after the rocket sailed down into the river.
Now Scott, aged 48, is looking to redeem his family’s name in the history books.
With his father having passed in 2010, and Knievel in 2007, Truax looks set to recreate the stunt over the famous river through Idaho later this year – although the initial plans were to have done it in 2014.
Truax had worked with his father on building the rocket in their California garage which – Scott told The New Yorker – “was the most fun I think he ever had on a rocket project.” Truax added that Knievel had initially wanted to attempt the stunt on a motorcycle, but that his father had talked him into doing it in the rocket.
To Truax’s credit, the rocket made it over the canyon, but then sailed back toward the river when the wind caught it in mid air. The New Yorker adds that since there was only one parachute, they had never tested it beforehand for risk of damaging it.
After the economic crash in 2008, Truax left his custom home-building business and moved to Twin Falls, where the stunt had taken place. He then started up a Facebook page called “Return to Snake River,” which attracted the attention of stuntman Eddie Braun. The two have been working hand-in-hand, and have spent $1.5 million in trying to get the project back in the air.
Reports indicate that most aspects of the stunt will be identical – with one crucial exception: The parachute.
“We completely reengineered the whole parachute system, and we did a test,” Truex told The New Yorker, “and the chute stayed put.”