“I was born with a rope in my mouth,” Tipton said, sounding more like he was narrating a
Western than giving a interview. Spending much of his childhood at the 101 Ranch in Ponca
City, Oklahoma, Kid practiced rope tricks in his free time, learning from various members of
his family and friends of the family. He rode his first bucking “horse” (it was a pony) when he
was in the first grade, and in college he became professional bullfighter. Tipton went on to
graduate from Oklahoma University with a degree in finance and accounting, and after trying
his hand in the business world, he left to pursue his true passion, trick roping.
“I was a bit wild,” Tipton admitted of his younger days as a self- proclaimed rodeo rock star.
But after several injuries and close calls, he “realized there’s more to life than having a bunch
of money.” This spurred him to get involved in his community, raising money and awareness
for local education programs and domestic violence prevention. He also started working with
The Children’s Hospital at the Oklahoma University Medical Center.
by Jenna Lomeli
Trick Roper Marty Tipton is about as close as
one can get to the American cowboy of yore this
side of the year 2000. And while his cowboy hat
and boots, and even his livelihood as a
professional trick roper add to this conception,
the similarities extend beyond the standard
cowboy imagery. Tipton has a larger- than- life
quality to him, telling stories in his friendly
Oklahoma twang that seem believable enough
but also carry with them a sense of the fantastic
that belongs in a dime novel.
Tipton now performs across the country as The
Oklahoma Kid, carrying on his family legacy—a
legacy that includes familial ties to Will Rogers,
with whom Tipton strongly identifies. “He could
translate the complicated issues of today into
the common man’s understanding. That’s
something I practice doing,” Tipton said. “Shooting
straight from the hip is what they call it.”
To Tipton, this is all a part of the cowboy way.
Tipton will lead a record- breaking trick roping lesson at the Autry for the Day of the Cowboy and
Cowgirl festival on Saturday, July 26. He will teach 500 people a few standard trick roping moves, starting
with the basic flat loop. It will be the largest production of Trick Ropers ever to perform publicly at one
time trick roping setting a World Record in western productions!
A product of four generations of trick ropers and rodeo performers, Tipton is a natural choice to help
celebrate the romantic image of the cowboy that has become so iconic in the American West. When
asked why trick roping is something people still enjoy watching, Tipton laughed and said “’Cause they
can’t do it themselves! It’s kind of like magic; they wouldn't call it trick roping if it wasn’t a trick.”
He thought about it for a few seconds and added, “It’s not really a trick. It’s a practice. It’s an art.”
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