A Tribute to Lane Frost
When Lane Frost met the unridden Red Rock in a seven-match series in 1988, the cowboy beat the bull 4-3. Before that, Red Rock had thrown 309 consecutive bull riders. On July 24, 1993, a permanent tribute to Lane Frost was unveiled. This life-sized version of this bronze by Chris Navarro stands in front of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. The bronze represents the spirit of Lane and his fellow bull riders.
Frost, the 1987 world bull riding champion, was later killed by a bull named Taking Care of Business on a rainy Finals Sunday at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Lane Frost was immortalized when the movie Eight Seconds, produced by Michael Shamberg and starring Luke Perry, retold his story. Shamberg got interested in the project after he saw the George Michael Sports Machine's special eulogy to Lane on TV.
|Photo by Janet Williamsen (c) 1996.|
Back to Janet's Let's Rodeo Page
Because of my Let's Rodeo page, I have had many requests for more information on Lane Frost. The information for this page has come from various newspaper and magazine articles, the PRCA Hall of Fame, and Cheyenne Old West Museum.
I have also received some help from and information from Lane Frost's mother, Elsie Frost, and Lane's sister, Robin Muggli. Mrs. Frost would especially like everyone to know that Lane was a born-again Christian. I am very pleased to say I had the privilege of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Frost at the 1997 PRCA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony when Tuff Hedeman received this honor.
My family and I have been going to the finals at Cheyenne for over 20 years now, and we were at Lane's last rodeo. The awful accident is ingrained in my memory and is one of those things I will never forget. It seemed to happen in slow motion. I still have my ticket stub for that rodeo though it's blackened with age.
A video called "Cheyenne Frontier Days Daddy of Em All" includes as a special bonus the award-winning "Tribute to Lane Frost." This tape is the one produced by George Michael's Sports Machine. We purchased the tape at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum and is also offered on the CFD web site. The museum has a special display about Lane Frost also hands out a fact-sheet on Lane which I have quoted from.
There is a paperback book called 8 Seconds, by Charlie McDade. It is a small out-of-print book based on the screenplay and can probably be found easiest through your public library. You can still get a copy of the movie 8 Seconds on video, starring Luke Perry.
There is another book which you can obtain through my Cowgirl's Dream Bookshop. I have set up a separate page for the book which includes an excerpt from the book about Lane riding Red Rock in the "Challenge of the Champions." The book title is "Gold Buckle: The Grand Obsession of Rodeo Bull Riders." It has the story of Lane riding Red Rock in it and lots more information about his traveling partners.
There has been some confusion over the name of the bull that killed Lane. (NO IT WAS NOT RED ROCK!) Some references say that the bull was named "K. Walsh" and also nicknamed "Bad to the Bone." Bulls names are sometimes changed around for a rodeo, but this bull was really named "Taking Care of Business" and was owned by Bad Company Rodeo.
July in Cheyenne, Aaron Watson:
Cowboy is His Name
This is the poem recited by Cody Lambert in the movie 8 Seconds. I just heard that this is part of a larger poem by Baxter entitled "Legacy of the Rodeo Man."
There's a hundred years of history
and a hundred before that
All gathered in the thinkin'
Goin' on beneath this hat.
The cold flame burns within him
'Til his skin's as cold as ice
And the dues he paid to get here
Are worth every sacrifice.
All the miles spend sleepy drivin'
All the money down the drain,
All the 'if I's' and 'nearly's,'
All the bandages and pain,
All the female tears left dryin',
All the fever and the fight
Are just a small down payment
On the ride he makes tonight.
It's guts and love and glory,
One mortal's chance at fame.
His legacy is rodeo
And cowboy is his name.
Written by The Smokin Armadillos,
from their Out of the Burrow CD
A few years back in an unknown place,
A little bull was born with a dark red face.
In a pen he was gentle,
but in the chute ... a buckin' machine
Mind over matter keeps you on for eight,
but it doesn't matter when they open that gate.
For this living explosion with the dark red shell,
He'll give you a ride ... through hell!
Now every few years a man comes along,
He knows what he's doin' and won't do it wrong.
He'll conquer the odds, he'll pass the test,
Above and beyond ... higher than the rest.
So what do ya do, when you've done it all.
You've climbed every mountain and jumped every wall.
Well the chance comes along like a great big feast.
The chance for the hero ... to ride the red beast.
They said he can be beat, he's just one of the rest,
But he couldn't be tamed, cause he gave 'em his best.
He's ready to go so don't be a fool,
He jumps like a rabbit and kicks like a mule.
He's quicker than a quarter horse, aggressive as a hawk.
This mountain of muscle ... RED ROCK.
There were seven tough battles between the two gods.
And everyone thought the bull had the odds.
But the man had heart, and red finally lost.
Four, eight second rides to the mighty LANE FROST.
Now both of them retired in their own special way,
But they'll both be remembered every single day.
They had desire to win and hearts to try,
RED ROCK and LANE FROST ... were two of a kind!
A Good Man Lost
Thanks to Ty Bruce for sending me this wonderful poem by R. Giltner:
Unlike Lane I ride broncs, but am still a huge Lane fan. At a recent rodeo in Attica, New York. I came across a painting of Lane with a poem written with it & just thought you'd enjoy reading it. So here it ...
A GOOD MAN LOST
The folks of Quanah, Texas
Have lost a favorite son,
And the ache will always linger
Even when the morning's done.
He lived his life to rodeo,
He loved to ride a bull,
And even though his life was short
His life was always full.
Watched him just a few years ago
So full of youth and sass-
He went home with the buckle
And put Red Rock out to grass.
When they pull the chute gate open,
You'll no longer see Lane Frost
The world won't look as shiny-
Another good man lost.
(Looks like a Championship Buckle)
Timeline, Statistics and Accomplishments
- 1963: Born October 12, 1963 in LaJunta, Colorado, to Clyde and Elsie Frost. (Note from Lane's mother: Lane was not a Kim, Colorado native as reported in some articles. Mr. and Mrs. Frost were natives of Kim, Colorado, but when Lane was born, they were living in Lapoint, Utah. Clyde was rodeoing, and she went to say with her folks in Kim, Colorado. They went to LaJunta, Colorado to the hospital, so that is where Lane was actually born on October 12, 1963.) Lane began to show interest in rodeo by the time he was three and was practicing riding calves at the age of ten.
- 1977: The Frost family moves to Lane, Oklahoma. Frost continues learning riding techniques from his father, Clyde, and from bull riding legend, Freckles Brown, of near-by Hugo, Oklahoma.
- 1981: Bull Riding Champion at the National High School Rodeo Finals
- 1983: Lane attains full membership in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) at the age of 19. He also receives the "Tough Luck" award for his bone-jarring but unsuccessful efforts at the "Super Bull" competition in Del Rio, Texas. He was also named "Rookie of the year" runner-up.
- 1985: Lane and Kellie Frost are married January 5, 1985. Lane earns the championship of the "Super Bull" competition in Del Rio.
- 1986: Co-champion with Tuff Hedeman.
- 1987: Finishes the season as the World Champion bull rider, at the age of 24. Freckles Brown dies.
- 1988: The first cowboy to finish a ride on the bull "Red Rock."
- 1989: While competing in the finals of the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 30, 1989, Frost is hit in the back after dismounting the bull. He had completed his ride scoring an 85.
- 1990: Lane was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
- 1994: Movie based on Lane Frost's life titled "8 Seconds" is released in theaters nationwide.
- Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
- Weight: 145 pounds
- Family: wife, Kellie (remarried in 1993); parents, Elsie and Clyde; brother, Cody; and a sister, Robin Muggli.
- Hometown: Moved to Lane, Oklahoma in 1977
- Buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Hugo, Oklahoma, next to his old hero, Freckles Brown
- Pall bearers: Richard "Tuff" Hedeman, Jim Sharp, Cody Lambert, Clint Branger, Wes Ward, and Guy Sartin.
National Finals Rodeo:
- Qualified 5 times in Bull Riding, 1984-1988
- 1987 Bull Riding World Champion
- 1986 NFR Average Winner in Bullriding, 678 points, He rode 9 out of 10 bulls.
- Prairie Circuit Bull Riding Champion, 1983
- Runner-Up for Bull Rider rookie of the Year, 1983
- Winston Tour Bull Riding Runner-Up, 1986
- National Finals Bull Riding Average Winner, 1986
- Rode most bulls (9) at NFR, 1986
- Texas Circuit Bull Riding Champion, 1987
- World Champion Bull Rider, 1987
- First cowboy to ride Red Rock, who was previously unridden in 309 outings
Lane was in the top 15 bull riders for 5 consecutive years until his death.
- 1988 - $ 74,700 - #6
- 1987 - $105,697 - #1
- 1986 - $104,128 - #3
- 1985 - $ 87,100 - #3
- 1984 - $ 50,688 - #9
- Lifetime PRCA Earnings: $489,736
Lane Credited Three Men for His Success
On December 1, 1967 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the first performance of the NFR, Freckles Brown, 1962 World Champion Bull Rider, came out of chute number two and rode a bull that had never been ridden in 220 times out - Jim Shoulder's bull, Tornado.
Twenty years later, in December 1987 at the NFR in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lane Frost became the 1987 World Champion Bull Rider and Red Rock was named Bucking Bull of the Year. Lane had grown up in Lane, Oklahoma, under the eyes of his friend and mentor, Freckles Brown. Freckles was a big influence on me. It's more fun to make somebody grin than make somebody upset, Lane said after he won the title.
Lane was quick to credit three men for his success: his father, Clyde Frost; eight-time world champion Don Gay; and the legendary Freckles Brown. Freckles and my dad are the greatest teachers I ever had. They got me started the right way. Donnie came along and put the icing on the cake. - Lane Frost
Quotes About Lane
We were the last ones to leave no matter where we were at. If there was somebody who came to say 'hi' to him, he'd always find the time, if we had somewhere we needed to be or not - no matter how big or small, young or old, rich or poor. I never introduced him to anyone who didn't think he was the greatest. He just had a majic to him. He left everybody with a smile. - friend and traveling partner, Tuff Hedeman.
Even as a kid, when I did his first TV interview in Del Rio, Texas, in 1983, he had an infectious look about him that just told you he was a good person. He had great eyes. If the measure of any man is how much he is loved, then Lane Frost clearly was the most loved young man I knew. Lane was truly a world champion in the arena, and he was a world champion in life. A lot of guys change when they have success, and he truly didn't. - George Michael, host and producer of NBC's George Michael Sports Machine.
I thank God he sent Lane into my life. I just wish I'd had him longer in there. - PRCA stock contractor John Gowney who promoted the match with Red Rock.
He was a bright and shining star. He'll be sorely missed. - Gary Leffew, 1970 World Champion Bull Rider.
He went out in style. I think if God told him, 'Lane, your time's up. Choose the way you want to go.' Well, he was riding a good bull at a good rodeo. If he could have chosen it, I think that's the way he would have chosen it. I know he would have chosen that. - boyhood friend Wes Ward.
It's not much consolation, but he loved bull riding, and so at least I know that he died doing what he loved. - mother Elsie Frost.
Bull Kills cowboy at Cheyenne Rodeo
Rocky Mountain News, Monday, July 31, 1989, By John C. Ensslin
Cheyenne - Lane C. Frost, 1987 world's champion bull rider, died yesterday after being [hit in the back by the horn of] a bull in the final round at the Frontier Days rodeo.
Frost, 25, of Quanah, Texas, was declared dead after being rushed from the rain-soaked arena to Memorial Hospital in Cheyenne.
Frontier Days staff could not remember any other occasion when a cowboy rider had been killed in their rodeo competitions.
Laramie County Coroner Roger Radomsky said the cause of death was broken ribs, which punctured a major blood vessel.
The ... Colorado native's death turned the rodeo winners' celebration into a solemn wake as cowboys gathered later at the Hitching Post Inn.
'Lane knew it could happen, but he loved riding bulls,' said Kermit, Texas, bull rider Jim Sharp, who traveled the circuit with Frost and rode the next bull after the accident.
'There was nothing he'd rather be doing than riding bulls,' Sharp added. 'He went doing what he loved.'
Sharp tied for first place in bull riding at Frontier Days, but said he felt no elation.
'I'm glad I did good,' he said quietly. 'But I'd rather have fell off than have Lane do this.'
Frost, entered the final day of competition ranked second among the bull riders.
He was the next to last cowboy to ride when he broke from the chute aboard a bull called K. Walsh. Although Frost managed to complete his eight-second ride, he was tossed over the bull's shoulders, landing on his hands and knees.
As a crowd of more than 10,000 rodeo fans watched, the bull dipped one horn to the ground, then hit Lane in the back with that horn.
Frost stood and gestured for help with one [hand] as he held one arm to his side. Then he collapsed to the ground.
Paramedics worked in vain to revive him before carrying him off on a stretcher. Memorial nursing supervisor Kathy Ziemann said Frost's heart was not beating when he left the arena.
The accident came while the crowd was still focused on California cowboy Marty Staneart's record breaking bull ride aboard Mr. T. Staneart had just broken the Frontier Days record with a 93 while becoming the first cowboy to ever ride the legendary bull.
None of Frost's family were present at the accident, rodeo officials said. Friends said his wife, Kelly, a professional barrel [racer], was waiting for him in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where the couple had a small part in a movie.
Yesterday's tragedy came just as Frost seemed to be reversing a year of bad accidents.
Roy Cooper, a neighbor who finished as Frontier Days top all-around cowboy, remembered telling Frost last week that his bull riding at Cheyenne had broken a spell of bad luck.
'I told him, Maybe the ice has melted, Cooper recalled. 'He was fired up about a big win at Cheyenne.'
Ironically, Frost's final ride earned him a score of 83. That was good enough to earn him $3,950.78 as bull rider with the third best average.
Sharp said Frost knew the bull that killed him. The same animal had bucked him off about a month ago at a San Angelo, Texas, rodeo.
'He was really wanting to ride him,' Sharp said. 'And he got it done.'
Sources for this Site
- Press Releases from the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association
- 101 Pro Rodeo Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80919, (719) 593-8840
- Bull kills cowboy at Cheyene rodeo
- John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado, July 31, 1989
- A rodeo cowboy's perfect ride ends in death
- Skip Myslenski, Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1989
- Friends recall love for Lane Frost
- Kendra Santos, Pro Rodeo Sports News, August 16, 1989
- The Death of a Cowboy
- Peter Richmond, The National Sports Daily, July 22, 1990
Copyright 1995, Janet Williamsen