Lane Frost

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Lane Frost
Lane Frost at a rodeo event
Born (1963-10-12)October 12, 1963
La Junta, Otero County
Colorado, USA
Died July 30, 1989(1989-07-30) (aged 25)
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Resting place Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma
Alma mater Atoka High School
Occupation Professional bull rider
Spouse(s) Kellie Kyle Frost (married 1984-1989, his death)

Lane Clyde Frost (October 12, 1963 – July 30, 1989) was an American professional bull rider and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) member, who died in the arena at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo as a result of injuries sustained riding the bull Takin' Care of Business.[1][2] He died by getting horned in the back, breaking several of his ribs which severed an artery that led to his heart.

Early life[edit]

At the time of Lane's birth, his parents lived in Oklahoma. However, his father, Clyde, was on the rodeo circuit as a saddle bronc and bareback rider. His mother, Elsie, went to stay with her parents in Kim, Colorado, while she waited for him to arrive. He was born in the hospital in La Junta, the closest medical facility to Kim. He had an older sister, Robin, and a younger brother, Cody.

Frost started riding dairy calves on the family dairy farm when he was five or six. When he was nine, he first got on a bull. However, to the relief of his family, he met Don Gay about that time; Gay told him that he should just ride calves and steers until his bones were more fully developed. Elsie says that she and Clyde had been telling him the same thing, but "Of course, he listened to Don."

At age fifteen, Frost started to ride bulls on a regular basis. Before that, he had been competing on calves and steers. His first rodeo awards were won in 1974, when he was 10, at the "Little Buckaroos" Rodeos held in Uintah Basin. He stayed on a bucking Shetland Pony to win first in bareback, took second in calf roping, and rode a calf in the "bull riding" event to place third. While rodeoing wasn't the way of life his parents exactly wanted for him, they never discouraged him, and helped him whenever they could.

Frost spent his first fourteen years in Utah, doing chores on the family dairy farm, and later competing in various rodeo events. When he was in junior high (seventh and eighth grade), in Vernal, he excelled in wrestling. Although he never did so before entering junior high, as many of the other boys had done, because of his interest in rodeo, the coaches still had high expectations for him. He, then weighing only 75 pounds, won 45 matches, lost four times and had two ties.

Frost also continued competing in the "Little Britches Rodeos", and any other one he could enter, until his parents moved the family to Lane, Oklahoma, in 1978 to escape the harsh Utah winters. He attended Atoka High School in Atoka.[2]

Frost was taught the art of riding by Clyde and his good friend, Freckles Brown, who was a World Champion Bull Rider. In Oklahoma, he was the National High School Bull Riding Champion in 1981. He was the Bull Riding Champion of the first Youth National Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1982.

On January 5, 1985, Frost married Kellie Kyle (born 1965), a barrel racer from Quanah, Texas, west of Wichita Falls.

Professional career[edit]

Frost joined the PRCA and began rodeoing full-time after graduating from high school in 1982. In 1987, he realized a lifelong dream when he became the PRCA World Champion Bull Rider at age 24. That same year, the great bull Red Rock, owned by Growney Bros. Rodeo Company, was voted Bucking Bull of the Year. In 309 attempts, no one had ever ridden him, and in 1988, at the Challenge of the Champions, Frost rode him in seven exhibition matches and was successful in four out of seven tries. He went on to compete at the Rodeo '88 Challenge Cup held as part of the Cultural Olympiad in association with the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.[3]

Challenge of the Champions[edit]

The Challenge of the Champions had not even been dreamed up at the time of Red Rock's retirement.[4] Sometime in 1988, John Growney thought to himself that a special match-up between the two 1987 Champions could consolidate Red Rock's place in history.[5] It was decided that Frost and Red Rock would have 7 showdowns at different rodeos in states across the West.[5] The event was titled the "Challenge of the Champions."[5] It was a publicity match made in heaven.[6] An adored and engaging cowboy versus the best bucking bull.[6] Red Rock was brought out of retirement and Frost finally rode him to the eight-second whistle for a scoring ride for 4 of the 7 matches.[5]


On July 30, 1989, at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, after completing a successful 85-point ride on a Brahma bull named Takin' Care of Business[7][8], Frost dismounted and landed in the dirt. The bull turned and hit him in the back (although he was not gored), breaking several of his ribs which severed an artery that led to his heart.[9][10] He initially rose to his feet, waving at Tuff Hedeman for help. As he took a couple of steps, he fell to the ground. He was rushed to Memorial Hospital. On the discovery that his heart injury was irreparable, the doctors pronounced him dead. No autopsy was performed. He posthumously finished third in the event. Takin' Care of Business went on to appear in the 1990 National Finals Rodeo. He was retired in the 1990s and put out to stud until he died in 1999.

Frost is buried near his hero and mentor, Freckles Brown, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma.[11]


After Frost's death, Cody Lambert, who currently resides in Bowie, Texas, one of his traveling partners, and a founder of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), created the protective vest that all professional cowboys now must wear when riding bulls.[1]

In 1994, the biopic based on Frost's life, 8 Seconds, was released. Luke Perry played the role of Frost. Stephen Baldwin was cast as Frost's best friend, Tuff Hedeman.

The medical team for the PBR league is named after Frost, as is the Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award, given for the highest scoring ride at the PBR World Finals.[12] The Lane Frost Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hugo is dedicated to his memory.

Country music star Garth Brooks paid tribute to Frost in the video for his 1990 hit single "The Dance". Rodeo announcer Randy Schmutz wrote the song "A Smile Like That" about him.[13] The 1993 song "Red Rock" by the Smokin' Armadillos is about him, and he is mentioned at the end of the video for Korn's 2007 song "Hold On". Aaron Watson's 2012 album, Real Good Time, included the single "July in Cheyenne".[14]

In August 1990, Frost was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1999, he was named to the PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration: Ring of Honor, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, and has an exhibit in the Oklahoma Sports Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma.[15] In 2017, Lane was inducted into the Bull Riding Hall of Fame.

Frost's parents have authorized Cowboy Bible: The Living New Testament, with a sketch of him on the cover. They reside in Lane, Oklahoma and travel to many rodeos giving speeches in his memory. His widow, Kellie, is now married to Michael Edward Macy (born 1962), a former rodeo performer and rancher near Post, Texas. They have a son and daughter.

A documentary titled "The Challenge of the Champions: The Story of Lane Frost and Red Rock" premiered in 2008. It covers the match between them.[16]

In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of Frost's death, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle published as part of its coverage of Cheyenne Frontier Days an article recalling the highlights of his career and his character. His friend, Cody Lambert, is quoted: "I'm a John Wayne fan, and I don't mean any disrespect to John Wayne, but he played the characters that Lane really was." Sage Kimzey, the champion bull rider from Strong City, Oklahoma, said: "He's the guy every young bull rider wants to grow up and be like." Tuff Hedeman compared Frost's death to that of James Dean: "gone way too soon."[17]

After surviving an accident on the last lap of the 2015 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Austin Dillon waved to the crowd, with a similar gesture to that of Frost. He later said that it was in tribute to Frost.[18]



  1. ^ a b Eric Schmoldt, "Lasting Legacy: Lane Frost and the rodeo community", Casper Star-Tribune, July 11, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Bull rider dies after being gored", Tulsa World, July 31, 1989.
  3. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (February 25, 1988). "Stage: Rodeo '88 At Olympic Festival". New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Red Rock". Lane Frost. Archived from the original on November 12, 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Professional Bull Riders - Remembering Lane Frost vs. Red Rock". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 3 January 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "The Growney Bucking Stream" (PDF). Growney Brothers Rodeo.Net. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  7. ^ "Frost crafting his bull-riding resume in the footsteps of famous relative". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 4 December 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Lane Frost | Daily Dose Frost". The Daily Dose. 10 August 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b "Lane Frost - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "PRCA Rodeo Years 1988-1989". Lane Frost Web Site. Retrieved December 24, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Cowboy's funeral draws throng", AP in Tulsa World, August 3, 1989.
  12. ^ "Dictionary". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 31 December 2017. 
  13. ^ Jane and Michael Stern, "Raging Bulls", The New Yorker, September 14, 1992, p. 93 (subscription required).
  14. ^ Chuck Dauphin, "Aaron Watson Finds Inspiration in Tragic Rodeo Star Lane Frost", Billboard, November 18, 2013.
  15. ^ "Oklahoma Sports Museum | Guthrie | Oklahoma | Sports Museums | Sport Memorabilia | Oklahoma Sports | Sports Hall of Fame | Travel". Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "The Challenge of Champions: The Story of Lane Frost and Red Rock Premiere", National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (accessed 2013-12-12).
  17. ^ Ian St. Clair (July 19, 2014). "Lane Frost: His legend rides on". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Dillon's post-crash wave a tribute to late bull rider Lane Frost". Fox Sports. July 6, 2015. Archived from the original on October 3, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Professional Bull Riders - Lane Frost". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame". Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  21. ^ "Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Texas". Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  22. ^ "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  23. ^ "The Bull Riding Hall of Fame Class of 2017". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 June 2017. 
  24. ^ "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce, OR". Retrieved 17 May 2017.

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