Stunt driver to jump over Branford bar on Saturday

A modern day Evel Kneivel stunt man will attempt to jump his Kawasaki KX 450 over the bar and grill at Ellie Ray’s RV Resort in Branford at noon Saturday.

Resort manager Nick Sturgeon said the motorcycle stunt idea started last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to postpone it.

It was resort owner Tom “Sturge” Sturgeon who decided to ask Team FMX owner Travis Willis to schedule a stunt based on a show the team put on at the resort a few years ago. 

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Sturge said he was impressed by the previous show and that two ramps will be set up with the landing side to be near the river for Saturday’s event.

This weekend, the resort is hosting the 9th Annual Sturge’s Biker Rodeo from April 15 to 18. The cost for an event pass is $25 and includes a 16-team professional cooking contest, live music performances, the bike show and the stunt.

The resort’s Facebook page lists the event details.

The bike rodeo kicks off tonight with the Bearded Brothers Band taking the stage at 9 p.m., the Team FMX bar jump at noon, a burnout contest, local music artist Cameron Wheaton, plus the band Pete Hunt & Southern Branded with headliner Michael Allman, who is the son of Gregg Allman, founder of the Allman Brothers Band.

Set up for the bar jump starts tonight when Willis will install two ramps for driver Trevor Cartmill to use in the feat.

According to Willis, the jump will start in the parking lot side of the building.

“The apex will be right over the front door,” he said. “The scary thing is that it will be a blind jump (the driver won’t initially see the second ramp) with 75 feet to the landing.”

Sturge said his goal is to give his campers and the community something fun to do, so they book talent and entertainment all 52 weeks out of the year.

“There’s nothing out this way, so we’re trying to bring more stuff out here for people to do,” Sturgeon said. “Whether it’s comedy, rock and roll or Friday and Saturday night karaoke.”

Ellie Ray’s RV Resort is located along the Santa Fe River just off US Highway 129 and offers RV hookups and cabins to rent, plus a boat ramp with a $10 launch fee.

For questions about the weekend events call 1-855-RIVER13.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that Michael Allman is the son of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band.

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