Terre Haute, IN - July is a busy month for rodeo cowboys, they are traveling all over the country in an attempt to earn points for the year end National Finals Rodeo. Among them is Danell Tipton, a world champion bull rider who has been coming to Terre Haute since 1993. He says being a cowboy is something he grew up with. "Rodeo-ing is my life it's what I've always done I always roedoed all my life you know and I've been beat up over the years you know them bulls have put me in I've had a punctured lung, cut liver, ruptured spleen, staples all in my face my head you know I've had so many concussions, broke my thrid vertebrae in my neck. You know the injuries are there," he said.
Despite all that, he's still going strong at 44 years old. Though to be fair he's transitioned away from the bulls and into steer wrestling. But rodeo isn't necessarily an individual sport. Danell feels the entire community is like an extended family.
"Rodeoing is a big family you know everybody's a family it's nothing that I can't go over here and get something from out of somebody's trailer if I needed it and vice versa."
Speaking of family Danell has a son, Jaylon who perhaps not surprisingly is following in his footsteps. "Jaylon he's riding pee wee bulls now and you know if I can keep that baseball bat in his hands it pays a lot more money so if I can keep that baseball bat in his hand I'll be happy with that," said Tipton.
Through all his titles and accomplishments, he reflected on the impact he's made in a sport that doesn't see many black athletes. "Charles Sampson he's from Watts California he was the first black world champion in the professional which is the PRCA, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and I'm the first in the International so we're the only two black world champions and boy that's a legacy of mine you know I'm so proud of that."