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”: