1976: Knievel inspires Hoosier boy’s daring trash can jump

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 05:30:35-05

INDIANAPOLIS — "Daredevils don't live easy lives." That’s what Kelly Knievel told The Associated Press upon the death of her brother, Robbie Knievel, last week.

The stuntman was the son of legendary daredevil Evel Knievel, whose famed motorcycle jumps made him a household name throughout the country. Knievel became a hero for many kids, including one here in central Indiana.

Former WRTV reporter Barbara Boyd introduced viewers to 13-year-old Terry "Evel Knievel" Bolinger on July 5, 1976. The teen managed to net WRTV coverage for his record-setting attempt at jumping 10 trash cans in an alley of a southeast Indianapolis neighborhood.

A crew of four helped Bolinger prepare his bike known as the "Junker Special." It was constructed using parts from several bikes and had balloon tires to help Bolinger stick the landing.

A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the jump as Bolinger’s mother and grandmother waited in anticipation. After a wardrobe change into an orange jumpsuit on loan from mom, Bollenger told Boyd, “It’s going to be alright. I’ll make it.”

The trash cans were put into place and each was numbered with a paper plate, you know, to make it official.

Boyd’s final words to the aspiring stuntman, “Let’s go at it!”

And boy, did Terry "Evel Knievel" Bolinger go at it.