The historic Rose Bowl along Route 66 has a new tenant. It's now the home of the Rose Bowl Tulsa Training Center. This non-profit organization provides space for programs that reach out to disadvantaged and at-risk students through sports and tutoring. Rex Blankenship, the Vision Training Center President, says his family grew up knowing how important sports, education, and faith are in life. He also says research shows, students involved in these type of varsity sports are 75 percent more likely to graduate.
"We introduce them to new sports besides basketball or soccer and to help them to see that they could maybe excel in one of those areas," says Rex Blankenship.
The program already reaches two hundred kids each week but with the new basketball court and the place to grow they are expecting more.
"We are hoping to just automatically move to perhaps five hundred a week. We are certainly staffed so that we can try and do that," says Blankenship.
Blankenship says they want all parents to trust them and allow them to build relationships with their children because they aren't here to judge anyone.
”It does not matter who they are, what they look like, where they come from, or what they have done or not done. We will welcome and love them no matter what.”
Everything in the program is free, they just want to help build up the area.
"We want to do our part bigger and better than the way we have been doing it. We want to take our love to a higher level so it will make a difference in the city. The kids need help. They need hope. This area of the city needs economic development," says Blankenship
If you would like to help the Rose Bowl Tulsa Training Center, you can click on the link to their websites: savetherosebowl.com or rosebowltulsa.com and pick where your donations will go.
One Hope Vision (dba: Rose Bowl Tulsa Trust) is not a new program. We are an Oklahoma non-profit agency and tax-exempt under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. We have purchased the Rose Bowl with plans to restore the exterior of this unique and historical architectural icon on Route 66 to its original design while renovating its interior to provide space for sports clinics, educational, and mentoring programs that offer hope and help for at-risk youth to stay in school. One Hope Vision supervised a successful program for 22 years in Shreveport, Louisiana, called Vision Side by Side working with at-risk youth while also serving as the umbrella organization for 20 years for our partner program, One Hope in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Under the management of the Rose Bowl Tulsa Trust, the Rose Bowl facility serves as the training center for One Hope Tulsa, Vision SidebySide, and Coach Hope.
Rex Blankenship started One Hope Vision 30 years ago in Shreveport, Louisiana. Rex and his brothers, Bill and Joe Blankenship and Dr, Mike Strange, have developed a successful model in Tulsa to help at-risk youth stay and succeed in school. Rooted in knowing the value of education, the benefit of athletics, and the ultimate worth of sharing the love of God, Vision seeks to share these same principles with area youth. One Hope Tulsa and SidebySide incorporate mentor training for high school and college-aged students with sports and educational opportunities for youth, especially those in need of help and hope.
Over the last twenty years, Vision Side by Side and One Hope Tulsa have seen a powerful impact made on thousands of lives through free sports clinics, tutoring, and mentoring programs. The difference is made visible in the student’s school activity and the reports of grateful families who feel their students are loved, valued, and encouraged, and receive the educational support they need outside of school. While our programs have grown in number and success, our space has not!
The solution? The Rose Bowl! Built in 1961, stands as an historical and architectural Route 66 landmark on 11th Street in East Tulsa. Originally designed to be a world-class bowling alley, its unique structure of two and one-half concrete domes, 34,000 square feet of space with 35 ft. high ceilings, and its bubble-gum pink color quickly still stands as a local landmark. After its closure, it was abandoned and left to vandalism until a previous purchaser sought to restore its exterior. The work caught our attention and aware of our need of a long-term plan expansion, we purchased the building in 2011. Much change has taken place over the last few years. Some of the original bowling lanes now serve as a platform stage overlooking a collegiate sized basketball court. There is sports turf for flag football and soccer plus a restored snack bar. With the proximity to McClure Park, our programs can oversee 400 plus youth and 100 mentors in each of the weeklong sports clinics.
The building and its location have already been a benefit to our programs. We have even been able to help other youth-oriented organizations by making the facility available for such programs. Kids in these communities need help and hope; the community itself needs economic development. With these things in mind we believe saving the Rose Bowl Training Center and developing this building to better serve the community make it beyond a worthwhile venture.
Located at 7419 East 11th Street along the Route 66 corridor in Tulsa, this unique building was constructed by a prominent Tulsa doctor, who commissioned Tulsa architect William Henry Ryan, to design the structure. The unique structure with its 2 ½ symmetrical concrete domes, bubble gum pink color, and soaring windows, quickly became a hotspot when it opened in 1962 as the Rose Bowl Lanes. Boasting audience seating, a game room, food counter and other traditional elements of the 10-pin heyday, it not only drew many locals but also became known for its regional bowling tournaments, drawing people from all over the country.
For 45 years, the building entertained bowling enthusiasts along Route 66, changing ownership several times throughout the years until it was purchased by bowling giant AMF. In 2005, the bowling center closed its doors forever, quickly becoming a target of vandalism and fires.
Raising up hundreds of leaders and giving hope to thousands of youth for over 20 years.
Call Us: (318) 218-9427
Rex Blankenship is a former pastor and national FCA speaker. He is the Management President on behalf of Rose Bowl Tulsa Trust. He also heads up the Vision Side by Side program which targets mentoring relationships with high school and college student/athletes. He is presently involved as the Director of Player Development and Life Skills Coach for the Owasso HS football team. He has written several spiritual conditioning books for high school and college student/athletes, books When in Despair, Hope and Love First...Love Most as well as Character Matters training materials. Additional information and sample books are available at lovefirstlovemost.com and sidebyside4ever.com.
Another of the three brothers who lead these programs is Bill Blankenship, former championship Head Football Coach at Tulsa University and multiple high school state championships at Tulsa Union High School, Fayetteville HS, and Owasso HS where he currently coaches. Bill serves on the One Hope Tulsa Board of Directors and leads Coach Hope, an encouragement ministry to coaches.
Joe Blankenship serves as the President of One Hope Tulsa which is the flagship ministry arm for the Rose Bowl Training Center. Joe is the Senior Pastor at Springs of Grace Church in Tulsa and also coaches football and mentors coaches.
Miriam Boone is the Executive Director.
Dr. Michael Strange, former Stillwater internist and administrator of the Oklahoma State Medical Center, serves as Executive Officer of the Rose Bowl Tulsa Trust.
Kyle Blankenship, former Tulsa University basketball player and current Head Men's Basketball Coach for Louisiana State University in Shreveport, serves as the President of the Rose Bowl Tulsa Trust.