Evel Knievel slides & ﬁlm, 1972
Garrett Colton’s story begins like many others: a grandson travels home to visit his family and uncovers an heirloom. Only this story is a little bit different because Colton didn’t just discover a familial trinket, he unearthed a national treasure.
While Garrett only entered into this tale a couple years ago, the story really begins back in the early seventies when his grandfather Jack Cooper, an Oklahoma car dealer, met a salesman of a different nature. During a trip to Las Vegas, Cooper was introduced to Evel Knievel by a mutual friend, and the two men hit it off instantly. Knievel and Cooper were kindred spirits – middle American straight shooters with a taste for spectacle, and at the close of their meeting Knievel turned to his newfound friend and said, “I may just come to Oklahoma and jump your cars.” And just like that a few weeks later Knievel came rolling on into town.
The entire community turned out to see the notorious stuntman jump those cars, but the story was all but lost to history until recently when Garrett Colton went snooping around in his grandparent’s attic. It was there that he found a box that was chock full of photographs from that weekend in 1972. The pictures were likely taken by Patty Roloff, a local amateur photographer who ran a creative agency with her husband, although even Patty can’t say for sure if she was the one behind the lens that day. Regardless of who snapped them, the photographs, are now on display for the first time ever in a book compiled by Garrett and published by Done to Death. The sixty page book is a glorious flashback to the that time when America’s greatest daredevil came to Cooperville.