Dell Schanze: Wikis


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Dell Buck Schanze (born in Ithaca, NY on September 27 1969) is a controversial Utah business entrepreneur, who relocated to Salt Lake City with his mother at age 12 when his parents divorced.[citation needed] According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Schanze "has made a name for himself by pushing the envelope professionally and personally" [1] with highly opinionated radio and television advertising campaigns in Salt Lake City pushing his businesses as well as his personal viewpoints. Dell Schanze was the founder of Totally Awesome Computers, which at its peak operated nine stores along the Wasatch Front in Utah.

After dropping out of the race for Salt Lake County Mayor as a Republican, Schanze ran for Governor of the state of Utah in 2008 on the Libertarian ticket, garnering less than 3-percent of the vote. The next year he lost his bid as mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah.[2][3]



Dell Schanze founded Totally Awesome Computers (TAC) in 1996, which closed its doors in 2006 due to failing finances, a series of news reports regarding Schanze's clashes with the law and two discrimination/harassment lawsuits brought by former employees.[citation needed]

Schanze also co-owned Totally Awesome Guns and Range, an indoor shooting range and gun store; as well as a distributorship of powered paraglider products (Totally Awesome Flying Sports.[citation needed]


Dell Schanze has made attention-grabbing and often critical remarks about competitors, local government officials, and other people in his ads. Some of the people and companies his ads commented upon include Micron Technology, Gateway, Inc., Bill Gates, the Better Business Bureau,[4] the mayor of Provo, Utah,[5] the "Shiffer Indians" (a fictional Native American Indian tribe), homosexuals,[6] and a Salt Lake City dentist who threatened suit against Schanze alleging defamation.[7][8]

In his 2008 run for Governor of Utah on the Libertarian ticket, Schanze recorded an auto-dial phone message that his supporters used to reach 2,500 voters a day which called Utah's current governor, Jon Huntsman Jr. an "anti-Christ socialist" and states that his Democrat opponent Bob Springmeyer "doesn't care about the constitution." Schanze later recorded a "toned down" version of the ad. Schanze lost, having only received 3-percent of the vote. [9]

Powered paragliding

Schanze pursues a hobby of powered paragliding, which is a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a small motor on his back, and runs into the air with lift from a paraglider wing.

In June 2003, Schanze executed an emergency landing of his powered paraglider in an open field in Magna, Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune reported[1] that his canopy collapsed when he was about 75 feet (23 m) above the ground, but he was able to save himself by deploying an emergency backup chute. The article characterized his flying skills with only ten months of experience at the time as "excellent" but questioned his judgment in deciding to fly alone in winds up to 32 mph (51 km/h) at the time. Schanze testified at the time that conditions were considerably calmer when he took off, and grew worse while he was in the air. Television news cameras captured the image of Schanze being taken away on a stretcher. Schanze later appeared on the Bob Lonsberry Show, a morning radio program on AM 570, KNRS, Salt Lake City, and explained his side of the events.


In 2007 Schanze founded the World Powered Skydiving Association,[10]. Others have criticized his choice of name for the organization, claiming that attempting to associate paragliding with skydiving is misleading to potential members.[11] Dell alleges to have achieved many world records, to date, the only organization that recognizes those claims are his own [12] organization. There is no other organization that will recognize his alleged achievements.

Notable incidents

Notable legal issues

  • On May 21, 2005 Schanze was charged with brandishing a firearm during an altercation with several people at a parking lot near a popular paragliding park in Draper, Utah. Reports alleged that Schanze was traveling in a black Jaguar sports car, with one of his children, at high rates of speed, through a residential area. Three residents followed him to the park and confronted him for reckless driving. When one threatened to break the Jaguar's tail lights, they reported that Schanze removed his Glock 10mm handgun and placed it over his heart. When police arrived, Schanze told them he had only brought out his cell phone, not his gun, in an offer to call police, but he later told reporters that it was his gun. In court he argued it was "not to threaten" but "to be ready to react" in defense.[18] Schanze was ultimately acquitted of the brandishing charge due to lack of evidence, but he was convicted of falsifying a police report and speeding.[19][20]
  • On May 24, 2006 Schanze was accused of "inappropriate" use of his powered paraglider. He pleaded "no contest" to public nuisance charges for flying his paraglider along I-15 during morning rush hour. The FAA issued Schanze a warning letter regarding the incident. [21]
  • In April 2009 Schanze was charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a valid permit (Class A Misdemeanor), reckless driving, and 3 child seat belt violations. He was stopped by authorities after a police officer witnessed him "weaving in and out of traffic". The police officer claims that 3 children were not wearing safety belts as legally required, however Schanze claims everyone was properly belted, but two children were sharing a seat belt because there were 6 passengers and only 5 seat belts. Officers reported finding a loaded firearm in a fanny pack that was located on Schanze's person, however Schanze disputes this, saying that in fact, no weapon was found at all. Schanze's Concealed Firearm Permit had expired. Schanze has accused the police officer of falsifying information in "doing everything he could to be vindictive". [22]
  • On April 23rd 2009 Schanze filed an Affidavit of Indigency in response to criminal charges, stating that his financial circumstances made it necessary to request a public defender. In addition to 'normal-type' debts, Schanze stated on his application that he owes $1.1 million dollars to the Internal Revenue Service.[23]
  • On August 28, 2009 Schanze was sentenced to 10 days in the Utah County jail for violations during a traffic stop, and fined $670.00. [24]
  • On September 16, 2009 Schanze was asked by police to leave a polling area where he had been campaigning. Campaigning at the polls is illegal in the state of Utah, and voters had called police complaining that "Super Dell" was trying to sway their vote. [25]

Schanze and the media

Schanze frequently claims that he is portrayed in a "sensationalistic and biased manner" by the news media, and points out what he refers to as "the evil lies of the news media"[26].

If I was a really bad guy do you think any of these news reporters would still be alive? Ask yourself that question. You know you all have the ability to repent because of the grace of God, but you are still alive to do it, because of the grace of SUPERDELL[26].

To address Schanze's claims that the media has treated him unfairly, a reporter from the TV station KSL-TV offered to do a story on Schanze that attempts to portray him favorably. The story[27], which aired May 12, 2006 and was filmed primarily in Schanze's primary residence, shows him enjoying his various hobbies, including his computers and his participation in powered paragliding, as well as a glimpse of his family life. Additionally, the entire unedited footage lasting nearly an hour was published on KSL's web site[28], along with the final broadcast news segment, which was edited to fit within an appropriate time constraint.


  1. ^ a b Westley, Michael (June 20, 2003). "'Super Dell' slightly injured in ultralight aircraft crash.". Salt Lake Tribune. "Fighting high winds, Dell Schanze crashed the ultralight aircraft he was flying near Magna on Thursday morning. Firefighters driving to a training facility at about 8000 West and 4000 South saw Schanze -- known from his "crazy" television ads as "SUPERDELL" -- fall from the sky. "It looked like he was trying to control his descent, but the wind was throwing him around pretty good," said Capt. Doug Obert of the Salt Lake County Fire department." 
  2. ^ Nelson, Paul (July 14, 2009). "Schanze to run for mayor of Saratoga Springs". KSL-TV. Retrieved 2009-07-14. "Former computer store owner "Super" Dell Schanze is tossing his name into the race for mayor of Saratoga Springs." 
  3. ^ a b "Love, Francom get most votes; 'Superdell' causes interruption". Deseret News. September 16, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  4. ^ Schanze's commercial criticizing the local Better Business Bureau
  5. ^ "'Super Dell' irks mayor". Deseret Morning News. June 13, 2003. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  6. ^ Schanze's commercial calling homosexuals "faggots"
  7. ^ Laura Warner, 'Super Dell' zaps Provo mayor in ads, Deseret News, January 28, 2004. Retrieved June 18, 2006.
  8. ^ The radio commercials posted to Schanze's computer business website are no longer available, excepting occasional MP3 files preserved on [].
  9. ^ [1] KSL News: Schanze's comments target Gov. Huntsman
  10. ^ WPSDA,[2]
  11. ^ Foot Flyer, [3], Powered Skydiving
  12. ^ WPSDA,[4]
  13. ^ Jeremiah Stettler, "Super Dell" runs for county mayor, Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
  14. ^ Leigh Dethman, Super Dell now wants to be governor, Deseret News, March 17, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
  15. ^ [5]
  16. ^ Sara Lenz, 'Superdell' plans to run for mayor, Deseret News,July 14, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
  17. ^ "Unofficial primary election results 2009". Deseret News. September 16, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  18. ^ "Dell Schanze's Trial Gets Underway". KSL-TV. May 10, 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  19. ^ Stephen Hunt, 'Super Dell' beats gun rap, but jury says he lied to cops, Salt Lake Tribune, May 12, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2006.
  20. ^ "'Super' Dell Schanze acquitted of brandishing gun". Daily Herald. May 11, 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  21. ^ KSL News
  22. ^ Salt Lake Tribune, 'Super Dell' charged with reckless driving, weapon violation, Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  23. ^ Deseret News, Driving case puts 'Super Dell' in court, Deseret News, April 24, 2009. Retriived April 24, 2009.
  24. ^ KSL, Schanze sentenced to 10 days in jail, KSL, August 29, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  25. ^ KSL, [6], KSL, September 16, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
  26. ^ a b, Schanze Sentenced to Probation for Lying to Police, 9 August 2006
  27. ^ Scott Haws, A Look At Super Dell Schanze's Life,, May 12, 2006
  28. ^, A Look at Super Dell Schanze's Life

Further reading

External links

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