Danell Tipton: World Championship Bull Rider Opens New Sports Complex in MWC

You may be familiar with the name Danell Tipton if you are a fan of the rodeo or follow bull riding. He’s spent the last 18 years in the professional bull riding circuit, bringing him tremendous success. Tipton was born July 22, 1973 in Spencer, Oklahoma into a family who was active in the rodeo. It didn’t take Tipton long to want to get involved as well. He was just 13 years old when he decided to jump on his first junior bull, in the East Side Round up Club in Choctaw. Tipton lasted 7 seconds on that bull and right then the course of his life changed forever.

“I got on that bull and lasted on it for seven seconds and I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do, and that I could be good at it,” said Tipton.

Tipton’s dimpled grin is as wide and genuine as they come. At 5’7” and 160 pounds, Tipton is lean and built in a way that can only be achieved through hard work and dedication. He spends countless hours in the gym getting his body in shape to take the many beatings that come along with riding bulls. He’s also one of the few African American professional bull riders, which he said has been a challenge in some ways as well. However, Tipton is always up for a challenge, and it just fuels him to overcome those challenges in his path and to succeed no matter what.

“In some places that I travel to in the rodeo, they’ve never really seen a black cowboy. I look a little strange to them from my boots to my cowboy hat. I get some funny looks sometimes,” says Tipton with a good-hearted laugh.

Tipton joined the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) in 1992 and in 1993 he made the finals finishing 7th in the world. In 1996 Tipton won the International Finals Rodeo (IFR) average as well as the association’s bull year-end championship. He joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1998 and ended up taking home The Rookie of the Year and the Bull Riding World titles. These are just some of his many accomplishments within the rodeo circuit. He was also inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas in 2015. There’s also a sign in his hometown that says, “Welcome to Spencer, home of World Championship Bull Rider Danell Tipton.”

Tipton says he owes a lot of his success to his mom, step-dad and grandparents, who raised him up right and expected great things of him. He also credits his long time mentor and friend Arthur Stoner, a bare back rider in the rodeo who also won many titles and accolades, for taking him under his wing and teaching Tipton everything he knows before passing away in 1995. Tipton still continues to ride bulls and wrestle steers in many rodeos although not quite as many as before.

“My son is 9 now, and I was doing about 130 rodeos in a year. I decided I needed to be home more and stick to the rodeos closer to home so I can be here more for him,” said Tipton.

This also gives Tipton time to focus on many other different things that he wants to accomplish as well, of which there are many. Tipton graduated from Star Spencer High School in 1991, at a time when he said gangs were just being formed in the school and the area.

“That movie ‘Colors’ was just coming out and kids just came to school the next day after watching it and just lost their minds,” said Tipton.

During his time heavily touring the rodeo circuit, he was away from home a lot and didn’t really see what was going on. But when he came back home and took a look around, he didn’t really like what he saw.

“Kids were involved with drugs and gangs and sex, all at a really young age. Somebody needed to do something,” Tipton explained.

So he joined the police force at that time, and began a program with the help of some friends to show teenagers the harsh reality of a life of poor choices. Tipton arranged to take teenagers on tours to places including the state penitentiary and a funeral home as a way to try to steer them in a different direction. He was also starting to get calls from schools asking him to come give talks to the students, and so he began making his rounds doing just that. He engages the students in a way that reaches their level, but also is direct and serious enough for them to get the message loud and clear. Tipton is a charismatic and engaging story teller, drawing people in and making them want to pay attention just to see what happens next.

“Every time I talk to these kids, I ask them, ‘What are you into? What do you like to do?’, and they all say sports. But there’s nothing around here where they can go and work on their skills and keep them focused and out of trouble,” explained Tipton.

So while out on a rodeo tour with time on his hands to kill, Tipton wrote out his idea and plan for a sports complex that would give kids a place for just that. He was talking with longtime friend, Denver Bronco football player Antonio “Scooby” Smith, and told him about his idea. Smith asked if he had a plan all written out for it, and Tipton said yes and gave it to him. Together they were able to put the plan in action and get the ball rolling to make Tipton’s dream a reality.

Tipton and his associates were able to open Sports Tips Athletics two months ago in the Holiday Square Shopping center at 1110 S. Air Depot Blvd. The indoor sports park has indoor batting cages, and equipment and spaces dedicated to football and soccer training. They also have a pool table and boot camp style workouts. The facility isn’t just for kids, many athletes of varying ages and abilities find their way to the sports park to work out and hone their skills.

“Agility is really the word anyone wants to focus on no matter what sport they are in, and we provide a place for them to come work on those skills,” said Tipton.

The sports complex offers a variety of things and all at affordable rates, because they know it can be hard for parents with kids in sports, especially multiple kids, to be able to invest much more financially than they are already doing. Tipton says he also works with parents and teams on special deals and packages to make it easier for them to make it work.

“The most important thing is the kids, that’s what this is all about. These kids are our future, and I want to show them that they have options and can focus on something positive and good,” said Tipton.

There’s even plans of opening a second location soon on the South side, as well as opening up a drug testing center, creating scholarships and creating an app that allows colleges and recruiters to look at footage of all of the different sports in the high schools so the kids get better exposure.

“There’s scholarships out there for sports, and we have some amazing kids in our local schools that can get those if they are being seen by the right people. Most of our girls just aren’t getting the attention that they should be, the volleyball and tennis teams, they don’t get the coverage really,” explained Tipton.


Tipton has been working on creating the app to give all of the schools and all of the teams the exposure to help recruits have an easier time looking for these athletes. He has top of the line film equipment that he was able to borrow from his rodeo connections, and has plans of going out to the schools and filming highlights of all of the different sports and teams and putting them all in one spot to easily navigate.

The sports complex will also be hosting a special grand opening celebration shortly after school begins as well, to help make the schools and the community aware of all of the different things that they have to offer. From whole teams to individuals, the complex has something for everyone who plays sports and wants to work on being better at those skills. You can find Sports Tips Athletics on Facebook or contact them at sportstipsok@gmail.com or (405) 455-6197 for more information.  

Tonya LittleComment