Officials at the Idaho Department of Lands were checking their bank account—as often as three or four times a day. And on the afternoon of Oct. 4, there it was: $943,000.
"The $943,000 bonus bid has been successfully submitted by electronic fund transfer to the state of Idaho by Beckley Media, LLC," said Emily Callihan, spokeswoman for IDOL. "The State Treasurer's Office confirmed that the funds have been received in the Idaho Department of Lands bank account."
The cash windfall came from "Big Ed" Beckley, the 63-year-old Texas daredevil who says he can jump Idaho's Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel's attempt to do the same. FYI, "Big Ed" has weighed as much as 400-pounds in the past. He hopes to slim down to about 270 pounds for the jump (he's currently about 280).
The far side of the canyon (i.e. where Beckley would presumably land), is owned by the state of Idaho, but the planned take-off would have to take place on land owned by the city of Twin Falls. Beckley still has to negotiate that lease.
Beckley successfully bid $943,000 over four other would-be jumpers to secure a two-year lease with the state of Idaho. The $943,000 is on top of a lease agreement, which requires Beckley to pay another $25,000 annually in addition to a healthy cut of his revenue from broadcast rights, concessions, souvenirs, etc.
Beckley told Boise Weekly that he expected to secure a broadcast contract within the next few weeks and that the top contenders thus far were ABC and the Discovery Channel. Beckley was also talking with several Hollywood studios about movie rights.