Calling Cole Freeman a daredevil is probably appropriate.
After all, he's had 15 concussions, has broken his back and survived a subsequent heart attack due to a blood clot, and has broken his ribs countless times. He was a firefighter and emergency medical technician until the injuries forced him to give up the profession.
"So I went out and built ramps," said Freeman. "My bike has no speedometer or safety gear. During my last jump, my handlebars snapped and I am still looking to replace them."
Freeman, 32, from Saint Peters, Missouri, will do what he does best on Thursday, when he brings his 817-pound Harley Davidson Road Glide motorcycle to the Corn Palace for a jump at the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party.
With the Road Glide being the heaviest motorcycle ever jumped and sent over a ramp that's about 6 feet tall, the jump will be more in a straight line, in true "Evel Knievel style."
The stunt rider says he will attempt to set another record Thursday, flying over a set of hay bales and bridging a gap of more than 50 feet. The jump is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the event is free to attend.
"I am the only one in the world daring to jump a Harley Davidson Road Glide. It's designed for touring, not jumping", said Freeman.
Freeman said he's inspired by the legendary Knievel for his jumps, calling Knievel his biggest idol. He said it makes him sad that kids these days have little or no idea who Knievel was and what he stood for.
"I want to get the younger generation excited to ride more bikes and motorcycles. It's pretty much the only freedom we have left. With every jump, I am paying homage to Evel Knievel," said Freeman.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., Freeman will present his "Ill Conduct Show," which will feature 14-year-old stunt rider A.J. Soehlke and fellow stunt rider and motorcycle mechanic Danielle Pray. The show normally includes Freeman's son, Cam, age 5, who also stunt rides but his son will miss the event due to school getting underway.
"Back in the day gladiators would entertain, now I try to do that as a warrior of the motorcycle world," said Freeman. Additional stunt shows will be held at 8:45 and 9:45 p.m.
Also in Mitchell as part of the Palace City Pre-Sturgis event is "The Bikers Against Bullies Awareness Ride to Sturgis," which consists of the American Bagger Magazine team and others, which will include at least 75 riders on the Mitchell stop.