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Broken Bone Champion - Evel Knievel

Broken Bone Champion - Evel Knievel
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Print Broken Bone Champion - Evel Knievel Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.63

     challenging words:    bankruptcy, bystander, death-defying, evasion, fanfare, floundered, jailer, jobs-operating, off-limits, rocket-powered, slip-ups, well-until, wheelie, worked-in, crusade, stint
     content words:    Eight-year-old Bobby, Besides Knievel, Evil Knievel, Awful Knoffel, For Knievel, Butte Bombers, Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Park, In Washington, Las Vegas
Broken Bone Champion - Evel Knievel

By Toni Lee Robinson
1     Robert Knievel was born October 17, 1938, in a tough Montana mining town. He was raised by his grandparents. Butte (bYOUt) was a hardscrabble little city with few activities for kids. It was an exciting day when an auto daredevil show came to town. Eight-year-old Bobby, as he was known then, was dazzled by the stunts and fanfare. The show would have a deep impact on his life.
2     Bobby was lively and competitive. In school, he made a name for himself as an athlete. He did well in track and ski jumping. He also played hockey. Just below the surface, however, Bobby had a restless streak. He was crazy about motorcycles. The faster and more risky the ride, the better he liked it. He got into trouble with the law. After his second year of high school he dropped out.
3     Most young men in Butte ended up working in the copper mines. Knievel signed on, too. He did well in his first few months. He was bumped up to one of the plum jobs - operating a huge earth mover. The rig had a great deal of power, but its top speed was about 20 miles per hour. Bobby was bored. He wondered if he could do a simple stunt with the big machine. He found that an earth mover will pop a wheelie. When it lands, however, it's a little hard to hold back. He ran the huge machine into a major power line. The city of Butte was blacked out for hours.
4     The stunt didn't go over well with his employers. Out of a job, Knievel floundered. He ended up in jail after trying to outrun police on his motorcycle. The night jailer was a man with a sense of humor. Besides Knievel, he had another prisoner. This man's name was Knoffel. The jailer commented that it might be wise to double the guard that night. After all, he quipped, they were dealing with "Evil Knievel" and "Awful Knoffel." For Knievel, the name stuck. Later he used it as his stage name. He changed the spelling to "Evel" to avoid offending anyone.
5     The next few years were a whirlwind of change in a life that was already a bit on the wild side. In a short space of time, Knievel did a stint in the army, got married, played semi-pro hockey, and came back to his hometown to found his own hockey team. The Butte Bombers "bombed," however. Shortly afterward, Knievel's first son was born.

Paragraphs 6 to 12:
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