Remembering Lane Frost

In the summer of ’89, I was interviewed at a rodeo in Redding, California, along with an Oklahoma cowboy and a bull named ‘Red Rock’. That would be one of his last interviews; he died at his next rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 30. His name was Lane Frost.

Later, a movie was made about his life and his rodeo career called ‘8 Seconds’. In it, Luke Perry played the young athlete and there was even a ‘Red Rock’ appearance.

News of the accident in Cheyenne spread quickly. He was lined up at a rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, to ride “circle 8,” which is when all the contestants in a rodeo come out for the audience before the performances begin. Someone said, “Lane is in Cheyenne.”

When we finished the opening routine, we heard that Lane was dead. Lane Frost had been friends with many in the rodeo world. In fact, his memorial service was held at an Oklahoma church that celebrated 1,200 and about 3,500 showed up to say goodbye. His parents chose his final resting place at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma, right next to where his friend Freckles Brown was buried years before.

The movie “8 Seconds” tried to do justice to his life, but did not touch on how deep the friendship was between Lane and Tuff Hedeman. I was with Tuff shortly after Lane’s death at another rodeo in Fort Madison, Iowa. He showed up, ready to ride and do the press tour. Tuff and I were auctioned for the benefit of some charity. We both had to dance with someone who had offered us.

On that fateful day in Cheyenne, after a lot of rain, Lane rode a bull called ‘Taking Care of Business’. The jeans had their own name. They called the animal “Bad to the Bone.” Lane raced and did well, scoring 85 points and winning close to $ 10,000 in prize money. After the trip, Lane dismounted. It was then that the bull turned and lunged at him. His horn broke ribs, cut a blood vessel and pierced his heart.

He died in the sand although doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive him for hours at the hospital. Tuff was finally able to see his recently deceased friend after what “seemed like forever” in the waiting room. Three days later, he served as one of their pallbearers.

Today, there is a statue of the bull rider in the Cheyenne arena where he lost his life doing what he loved to do. The cemetery where he is buried has constant visitors. Many from the rodeo world and beyond were affected by the death of this young man.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, have commemorated it by naming their children after this bullfighting hero. A website publishes images of the crowd of cowboy boys of the same name called ‘Lane Frost, Memories of 50 years, 25 of them missing, but not forgotten’.

Lane Clyde Frost was an American professional bull rider and a member of the PRCA-Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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