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Daredevil 'Big' Ed's Next Hurdle: The Difference Between 'May' and 'Shall'

Emily Callihan, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Lands said that the fine print says the lease "may be canceled" but doesn't say "shall be canceled" if Beckley couldn't strike a deal with Twin Falls.

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"Big" Ed Beckley has had to hit the brakes. The Texas-based daredevil, who Boise Weekly readers met in 2013 after he successfully secured a nearly million dollar lease with Idaho for a plot of state land, had initially planned to land a rocket-fired jetbike over the Snake River Canyon this fall—the 40th anniversary of the Evel Knievel's successful attempt to do the same. Beckley had wanted to land his craft on the north side of the canyon, which is state land, and spent almost a million dollars for the right to do so. But the Twin Falls City Council has nixed Beckley's plans to take off from the south side of the canyon, which is Twin Falls land.

Now Beckley has another hurdle to clear if he wants his money back from the state of Idaho: the difference between the words "may" and "shall."

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that Beckley's lease with the state of Idaho, which cost him $943,000, includes a clause that the agreement could be voided if Beckley couldn't obtain a permit from the city of Twin Falls. But Emily Callihan, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Lands, told the Times-News that the fine print says the lease "may be canceled" but doesn't say "shall be canceled" if Beckley couldn't strike a deal with Twin Falls.

“As long as Mr. Beckley continues to display diligent efforts toward securing necessary permissions from a landowner for a launch site—even if it is a private landowner on the south side of the canyon—and he meets all other obligations of the lease, he will remain in good standing,” Callihan told the Times-News.

Indeed, Beckley told BW in November 2013 that he may have a Plan B: reversing the direction of the jump by using the north side of the canyon as the launching pad and leasing a different, private parcel of property on the south side for a landing site.

"Look, we've got the big pea in the pod. We've got the right to jump over the canyon and we have the north side of the canyon from the state of Idaho," Beckley told BW. "Look here, I'm going to tell you right now: My hands are going to be on a set of handlebars on Sept. 7, 2014. We're jumping that sucker."


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