Knievel was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. Robert and Ann divorced in 1940, after the 1939 birth of their second child, Nicolas, known as Nic. Knievel and his brother were raised in Butte by their paternal grandparents, Ignatius and Emma Knievel.
At the age of eight, Knievel attended a Joie Chitwood auto daredevil show, to which he gave credit for his later career choice as a motorcycle daredevil.
In response, Knievel, who was learning about the culling of elk in Yellowstone, decided to hitchhike from Butte to Washington, D.
C., in December 1961 to raise awareness and to have the elk relocated to areas where hunting was permitted.
Using the hunting and fishing skills taught to him by his grandfather, Knievel started the Sur-Kill Guide Service.
While trying to support his family, Knievel recalled the Joie Chitwood show he saw as a boy and decided that he could do something similar using a motorcycle.
After a police chase in 1956, in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving.
When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he noted Knievel in one cell and a man named William Knofel in the other.
Shortly after getting married, Knievel started the Butte Bombers, a semi-pro hockey team.
To help promote his team and earn some money, he convinced the Czechoslovakian Olympic ice hockey team to play the Butte Bombers in a warm-up game to the 1960 Winter Olympics (to be held in California).