BUTTE — A new group says it has obtained licensing rights to put on an Evel Knievel Days festival using the name of the late daredevil and that it’s prepared to stage the event in Butte this July.
“It’s full steam ahead,” Terri James, president of the new, nonprofit Evel Knievel Days Inc., said Tuesday.
Butte-Silver Bow Parks Director E. Jay Ellington said the group must obtain a special-events permit and present a proposal for staging the event before gaining county cooperation.
The group also would have to sign an operating agreement with the local government detailing the obligations and responsibilities for each side.
It’s the latest development in a weeks-long spat for control of the festival, one of three major events that make up Butte’s summer tourism season.
Previous organizers cut ties to the event last week amid bitter disputes with the county and Kelly Knievel, the daredevil’s son and the owner of the licensing rights to his late father’s name.
Knievel was aiming to sidestep the previous organizers and work out a naming rights deal with the county, while the county was pressuring the group to sign a new, separate operating agreement. A deal failed to materialize.
In a letter announcing their withdrawal, the previous organizers urged Knievel and Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent to proceed with the festival. Vincent is Knievel’s brother-in-law.
James, who was elected president of the new group Monday night, said it has obtained rights from Knievel and his venture, K&K Promotions, to use Even Knievel’s name in connection with the event.
James’ husband, Mark James, was a member of the previous group that helped stage the event since its inception in 2002. The couple owns Greenfield Printers in Butte.
“I’ve kind of been helping him with it all 12 years, so I was sad when I found out it was going to end because of disputes,” Terri James said. “I just felt we really needed to step up.”
She said K&K Promotions wanted no money for the naming rights and all proceeds from the event would stay with the festival.
The event, if it happens as organizers hope, would take place July 24-26.