The Oklahoma Kid
Marty Tipton, better known as The Oklahoma Kid, brings the legacy of the Wild West to life. Though most people have heard of Wild West shows that were so loved during the early part of the last century, many might be surprised to learn that these shows are still running today.
A fourth generation Wild West Show entertainer and trick roping artist, Tipton says his great grandfather started the tradition some 100 years ago. He feels it is an “obligation to my family, my state, and my country to continue performing and teaching the Wild West arts.”
The Oklahoma Kid traveled the state last year, performing in over 300 shows. A featured performer at the Pawnee Bill Museum during the Wild West Show each year, he is involved in many rodeos and events throughout Oklahoma, such as the D.A.R.E. Exhibition Rodeo with Governor Brad Henry and the Choctaw Nation. There were over 6,000 students in attendance at the Choctaw Coliseum.
For the Centennial, The Oklahoma Kid toured the Oklahoma Library system for their summer reading program, bringing the old west to life while spinning a rope and telling about the way Oklahomans used to live and their contribution to western history. With his photographs and stories, he captivates the minds of young students and even adults.
“I do demonstrations of trick roping,” said Tipton. “A typical trick roping act only lasts two to seven minutes so I added stories to that about the Wild West.”
He tells the story of Geronimo, who eventually converted to Christianity. According to Marty, during shows Geronimo would offer a thousand dollars to any man who would offer to be scalped; of course no one volunteered. Then there's the story of Annie Oakley, a trick shooter who was the first woman to win a competition against men, hitting an unheard of 4,700 targets out of 5,000. Marty also recalls stories of the 101 Ranch in Ponca City, once the largest ranch in the United States, where he was raised.
Finally, Tipton asks anyone who wants to learn how to trick rope to join him on stage for a lesson. “I bring them on stage and my claim to fame is that I can teach anyone one or more tricks. In one day, I've shown up to 500 kids and adults how to spin a rope,” he said.
The Statewide Centennial Celebration has kept Tipton busy and it has given him a chance to share his perspective on the last one hundred years.
“A lot happened in the transition of our state and the last hundred years has been a rapid change. There were no light bulbs, no microwaves, no video games,” says Tipton, who believes the pace of life has taken away from our culture. However, he hopes to help bring those qualities of the simpler life back by depicting how people transitioned from living during the Wild West days to the industrial period and the computer era.
Like most Oklahomans, Tipton and his wife, Jill, have big hearts. They are currently working on a project for Children's hospital, raising money to present each patient with a rope of their own. He is also working with Project Safe to raise money for their Center and welcomes anyone's help.
“If you have the desire to help me help terminally ill children, buy a rope and I will make sure they learn to spin!”
People are what matters most to The Oklahoma Kid. “I love working with people and I love to see their smile while learning something new.”
Whether performing or just living an extraordinary life, Tipton reminds us of who we were yesterday and who we are today.
For 2008, the Oklahoma Kid will be teaching roping and telling new unheard stories of the Wild West. To book a show, view a show or help The Oklahoma Kid’s charitable efforts, contact him by phone at 405-273-9017 or visit his website at www.TheOklahomaKid.com