Even from his birth in 1974, Rick Vyper seemed destined for notoriety. His mother, Barbara (Livesay) McClendon, was the first baby born at the Bristow Memorial Hospital in 1954, and twenty years later, Patrick James McClendon, alias Rick Vyper, was featured in the local paper as “First Baby’s baby born.”
After graduating from Bristow High in 1992, Rick served in the US Navy for four years aboard the USS Missouri and the USS Fletcher, which included the six months of the Persian Gulf War. He was a radioman, E-4 Petty Officer, and a SAR swimmer (Sea Air Rescue Swimmer). Upon completion of his tour of duty, Rick came home with his new wife and began raising his three children here in Bristow. Service for his country, however, was still in his blood, and he joined the Army National Guard until 2001 where he also served in communications. Also in his blood in 1999 was the venom of a copperhead snake which bit him while on drill for the Army and he only recovered after several antivenom shots.
Perhaps still craving adventure, Rick went to professional wrestling school in Tulsa in 1999. In 2000, he officially transitioned from Patrick James McClendon to Rick Vyper, and trademarked his name as he began working with the WWF Superstar as a ring announcer and commentator. This jumpstarted his career as a radio host in Butler, Missouri, and in Chicago, he worked with radio host MANCOW, where he mimicked such greats as PeeWee Herman, Sylvester Stallone, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Rick has hosted many concerts and school dances, but he left these gigs for films in 2016.
Rick started with bit parts in movies and television in 2013. Some of the most recent ones are God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, Fatal Attraction (tv series documentary), Then the Night Comes (currently being filmed), Gosnell: America’s Biggest Serial Killer, Evil Deeds, Mark of Death, Starship Valieant: The Ties That Bind, Te Ata and several others. To date, Rick has worked on over 25 feature films, five national tv shows and narrated 15 audiobooks. He also narrated Kiamichi Refuge, written by Bristow’s own Carol Henry Madding. In 2017, Rick became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild and knew that he was destined for this type of work.
The youth of Bristow have benefitted from Rick’s philanthropy when, in 2015, with the help of Tony Hawk and local businesses and citizens, he built a skatepark for Bristow’s young people and gave it to the city in 2016. Rick was also responsible for getting Klingensmith Amphitheater on the National Register, and nominated Bristow’s hand-dug well as a National Landmark, which it won in early 2017. Our well is officially the deepest hand-dug well in the United States!
Home boy, patriot, wrestler, actor, philanthropist—and he has just begun! Bristow can look on our native son with pride and continue to watch his accomplishments as he IS history in the making!