Frost’s Chilling End

Lane Frost was riding one of his families dairy cows almost as soon as he was born on October 12, 1963. At the age of 5, with help from his father, who was saddle bronco and bareback rider, Lane demonstrated a real talent for riding cows, and soon after moved on to riding bulls by age 9. Luckily, a mentor to Lane named Don Gay persuaded him to hold off on riding bulls until his bones were more fully developed. Taking his advice, Lane competed by riding calves and steers, and showed his promise early on. He won his first awards at the “Little Buckaroos” riding show, taking first place in bareback, second in calf roping, and rode a calf in the bull riding competition to place third.

Lane took up high school wrestling and continued riding rodeos until his parents moved to Oklahoma, to a town ironically named, Lane. There he was taught the art of riding from his father and good family friend, Freckles Brown, who was a world-renowned bull rider. During this time, Lane perfected his skills and quickly became the bull-riding champion of the Youth National Finals in Texas.

Soon, Lane seemed like he had everything going for him. He married Kellie Kyle, a barrel racer from Texas, and joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, or PRCA, and began competing at a professional level. In 1987 he accomplished a lifelong dream when he became the PRCA World Champion Bull Rider at the age of 24.  Frost went on to compete in the first Winter Olympics to hold a bull riding competition in Calgary, Canada. 

On July 30, 1989 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, in Cheyenne Wyoming, however, everything was about to change. Frost had just finished riding a bull named “Takin’ Care of Business”, and dismounted into the mud. Just then, the bull turned towards Frost and punctured him on the side with his horn, breaking several of Frost’s ribs. While running to the sidelines for help, Frost collapsed, causing his broken rib bones to puncture his left lung. Lane was rushed to the hospital, and after finding out his heart was irreparable, he was pronounced dead at the age of 25. Frost is buried next to his hero and mentor, Freckles Brown in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Frost’s death was not in vein. After his passing, one of his traveling partners created a protective vest that all bull riders now must wear while riding. Also, in 1994 Frost’s life was immortalized in the movie “8 seconds” staring Luke Perry and Stephen Baldwin. Dedicating a rehabilitation center in Hugo Oklahoma to him has also honored Lane’s memory. Country music stars such as Garth Brooks, Randy Schmutz, and George Straight have all written songs to honor Frost’s remarkable life. 

Frost’s tragic story is a lesson to everyone, encouraging him or her to cherish what he or she has, because sometimes being on the top just means you have a further ways to fall. This Modern Cowboy is not to be remembered for his tragedy, but for his dedication to his passion, love for his family, hard working attitude, and western good nature. As the movie “8 Seconds” promoted, “The sport made his a legend, his heart made him a hero”. 

Lane Frost was indicted to the Rodeo Hall of fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

To learn more about Lane, visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum from October 22-24 as they hold their Rodeo Weekend.

To visit a website paying tribute to Lane’s life, click here.

Below is a trailer for the movie based on Lane’s life entitled, “8 Seconds”:

The Outlaw Turned Deputy; a Modern Cowboy’s Cinderella Story

Bass Reeves (1838-1910) was born a slave and died a western hero. A man named George Reeves owned Bass, whose surname he took on, and became George’s body servant and personal companion when the Civil War broke out. During this time Bass left George, it is unclear exactly how it happened, some say they got into a physical fight, and others simply say he saw a way out. Regardless, Bass fled to Indian Territory where he stayed with the Seminole and Creek Indians and became a very skilled gunman.

Once the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863, Reeves was no longer a fugitive slave so he returned to civilization, married, raised a family of ten children and worked as a farmer. However, Reeves was left unsatisfied by his wholesome work, so he decided to accept an impressive job offer to become one of the first black U.S. deputies. U.S. Marshal James Fagen appointed Reeves because he had an extensive knowledge of Indian Territory, where most criminals were hiding at the time, as well as a remarkable ability to shoot a gun. Reeves quickly earned a reputation as one of the most courageous and successful deputies around.

Tales of Reeves’ captures abounded, but one such tale was the most impressive of all. Reeves found out where two outlaws were hiding, at their mother’s house, and decided to go undercover as a “tramp” to capture them once and for all. Dressed in rags, Reeves showed up at the home, and was greeted and welcomed by the boys’ mother. Soon the outlaws returned home and began regaling him with stories of their crimes. Reeves, posing as a criminal himself, agreed the trio should team up in the morning to wreak more havoc. While the men were sleeping, however, Reeves cuffed both of them, and as soon as the sun rose, woke them up to arrest them! Reeves marched the men 28 miles back to the station, with their mother trailing behind, and yelling at him for the first 3 miles.

Although tales of his arrests are exciting, there was no more interesting story than the time Bass had to arrest his own son for murder of his wife. Reeves demanded responsibility to capture his son himself, and after two weeks in pursuit, Reeves came back with son in tow. In 1907 Reeves took a job as a patrolman in Muskogee where he lived the rest of his days, before he eventually died of Bright’s disease in 1910.

Reeves earned his place in history by using his wit, courage, and skill to capture nearly 3,000 fugitives. This westerner was considered a hero because of his honesty and work ethic, and can be used as inspiration for Modern Cowboys in this time to remain true to their intuition and moral values.

You can watch a trailer about a film based on Reeve’s life called, “Bass Reeves” here:

The productive “lazy S.O.B”

Squire Omar Barker was born in a modest log cabin in New Mexico in 1894, where he stayed to live throughout his entire life. Barker was the youngest of eleven children, and was constantly trying to find his place in the family. He made the most of living on the homestead, and eventually went to college in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Upon graduating, Barker became somewhat of a ‘Jack of all trades’. He started out being a teacher of high school Spanish and got promoted to principal. This wasn’t enough for the restless man though, as he went on to become a forest ranger, a sergeant of the 502nd Engineers in France in World War 1, a trombone player in Doc Patterson’s Cowboy Band, a state legislator, and a newspaper correspondent. It was only after he explored all his options that he found his passion, writing. He began selling anything he could, from stories and poems to articles; Barker quickly became a full-time writer. Soon after he married his true love, Elsa McCormick, who also just so happened to be a writer of many beloved western stories.

Barker produced a staggering 1,500 short stories, 1,200 articles, and 2,000 poems. From that he produced five volumes of poetry, one book of short stories, and one novel. Barker’s best-known work was “A cowboy’s Christmas prayer” which has been printed over a hundred times. Barker also gained recognition by cleverly signing his books with his initials and trademark “Lazy S.O.B”.

Barker was awarded with the Western Writers of America Spur Award twice and was the 1967 recipient of the Levi Strauss Saddleman Award for showing respect and poise as a westerner. He was also named an honorary president of WWA, of which he was one of the founding fathers.

What makes Barker a great westerner to model your life after isn’t necessarily all of his awards; it was his dedication to his western heritage and his determination to bring honor and integrity to the western legend.

To take a look at some of S. Omar Barker’s work, click here.

A Western Woman to be Respected

My inspiration this week comes from Anne Burnett Tandy, a southern lady who after being given everything, led a respectable and industrious life, and following her passing, gave back even more. Tandy was born into a ranching family and grew up learning tricks of the trade from local cowboys and Comanche’s. After studying in the east, she was entrusted with the bulk of her grandfather’s estate, and remembering her western heritage, returned to the ranch to breed champion quarter horses. During this time townspeople, her friends, and employees alike adored her. After a particularly memorable dinner party, Tandy and guests established the American Quarter Horse Association, which she went on to become the vice president of. After the passing of her parents, she inherited both the 6666’s and Triangle Ranches. Tandy then devoted much of her life to maintaining the prestige and excellence of both ranches. Upon her husband Charles David Tandy’s death, Anne established the Anne Burnett Tandy and Charles D. Tandy Foundation. The foundation has gone on to establish The Tandy Center for Executive Leadership at TCU, support a lecture series on American art, culture, and society at the Amon Carter Museum, and donate money for substance abuse prevention and education programs in middle schools and high schools in Fort Worth.

Anne Tandy never forgot where she from, a place built upon hard work, human decency, and companionship. A place whose standards are uncompromising, and whose respect for it’s history resonates in it’s future. No matter how far we travel, or what challenges we may face, the heart and strength of the west will always rest within us all.
Anne Tandy was awarded into The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museums Hall of Great Westerners for her philanthropic nature, hard work, and perseverance.

Learn more about the 6666’s Ranch.

To find out more about other great westerners visit The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museums website.