The recent news of Keith's passing has brought back many memories.
Attached is a picture that I came across while reminiscing. This was one of the most fun events of my years at Masa High, (during which time I was most always seen as Keith's trusty passenger, either in his Dad's pickup or Keith's powder-blue and white baja bug)!
Here's the story:
It was the night or two before the Mesa/Westwood football game circa '76/'77. Our "gang" had gathered intelligence that Westwood was building a big papier-m?ch? Jackrabbit to burn at the stake for a pep rally the day of the game (the nerve of them)!
After dark, all 8 of us in the picture piled into Keith's Dad's blue shortbed pickup truck with a camper shell. We drove into Westwood territory and found the house at which the Conejo Grande was being built in the unfenced backyard. After a few covert drive-bys to "case the place", we came up with a plan and made our first attempt to rescue the famed Rabbit from it's planned demise.
With what we were sure was the finesse of a seasoned S.W.A.T Team, we made our first attempt at rescue. We were quickly discovered and chased away at least once. Finally, at what I remember to be 1 or 2 in the morning, we made the final rescue. In what I believe was less than 60 seconds, with the captors sound asleep in sleeping bags in the backyard, and Keith as the getaway driver, we rushed the yard, captured the frightened bunny and stuffed him through the door of the camper shell.
With at least 5 of us jumping onto the rear bumper of the truck, grasping to anything we could on the camper shell, the others jumping into the cab , Keith sped away at what seemed easily like 60 miles and hour in less than 60 seconds. (With a 3-speed column shifter no less).
Still pumping with adrenaline, we gathered under the mulberry tree in Keith's backyard. I set the timer on my camera and balanced it on a step ladder and captured the event for history.
The night of the game at the old Jackrabbit stadium on Broadway, we took Jack to the top of the press box and displayed him proudly for all to see as we watched the game.
I choose to remember that Mesa won the game.
Posing from left to right in the photo are:
Brent Larson, Shannon Waite, Shawn Kellis, Harold Farnsworth, Barry Thomas, Craig LeSueur, Don Johnson and Keith Stoffel.