Ever Watch the Movie ’8 Seconds?’ Lane Frost The Legend Lives On 22 Years Later [VIDEO]
With the Championship Bull Riding (CBR) making it’s way back to the Budweiser Events Center Saturday, I figured it was a good time to revisit an article I wrote last July. I had the opportunity to interview Tuff Hedeman, the president of the CBR and one of the main characters from the movie 8 Seconds, yesterday. Here is the heart wrenching story of his best friend Lane Frost…
I have written hundreds of articles, and this is the first one that has brought so many tears to my eyes. There is just something about this story that touches my heart like not many things can. Did I know Lane Frost? I did not, as a matter of fact I was only 3 years old when he died, but through stories, movies, and history Lane lives on 22 years after that tragic day up in old Cheyenne.
It’s called the “Daddy of ‘Em All” for a reason, Cheyenne Frontier Days is the rodeo all the cowboys want to win, the biggest, the best, the most prestigious. Lane Frost, a former world champion bull rider, was having a bad year, at the moment he was not even in the top 15 in the world rankings and on the verge of missing the National Finals for the chance at another title. It was July 30th 1989, Lane was sitting in 2nd place overall with one more bull to ride for a chance at winning the biggest rodeo around and boosting him up into the top 15 in the world rankings. Lane’s personal life was on the rise too. Lane and wife Kellie were growing stronger and happier in their marriage. They were working through the loneliness and their conflicts of being apart,
because Lane traveled so much to compete in rodeos and pursue the World Championship. The first part of 1988 was a bad time for them, but both had learned to do some compromising and adjusting, and the last 10 months were the best of their marriage.They were actually just days away from being approved for a loan to build a ranch run a bull riding school, start raising bulls, and start a family. Right after Cheyenne, Lane was planning on joining Kellie in Oklahoma to be the stunt bull rider for the star of the movie “Lonesome Dove”. Lane and his best friends and traveling partners, Tuff Hedeman and Cody Lambert had recently finished doing some advertising photos for a major western clothing chain, and Lane had even just begun marketing his own bull riding spurs. At 3:30 Cheyenne time Lane climbed the fence to chute #7 and
hopped on the back of the bull known as “Takin’ Care Of Business.” The sky was still dark and overcast from the storms of the last couple days which had dumped a lot of rain on the arena causing ankle deep mud, making it tough for the riders and bullfighters to get around. Lane nodded his head, gave his famous phrase, “OK boys! OK boys!” and the huge gate swung open into an arena full of mud and muck. 8 seconds later Lane remained on the back of the bull completing the ride and giving himself a chance at the title. In hindsight, Lane would receive an 85 score and ended up in 3rd place for the rodeo, but he would never know. After 8 seconds Lane let go of his rope and dismounted the bull in his normal, yet nontraditional way.The bull didn’t cooperate today though. “Takin’ Care of Business” quickly pivoted, and changed directions to the left, and was at Lane’s back. Lane tried to stand, but the bull lunged and knocked him over, instincts took over and Lane tried to make himself as small as possible, but it was too late as the bull, still agitated and moving forward, never stopping, turned and dipped his head,
and pushed his right horn into Lane’s left side. The horn did not break skin, but it hit Lane hard enough to slide him forward on the muddy ground. Lane quickly stood, holding his left arm stiffly at his side, he began to head back to the gates. He motioned with his right arm for help. Before anyone could reach him, he collapsed on the ground. It is said that Lane’s heart stopped beating then, although they tried to revive him at the arena, and at the hospital. It is assumed that broken ribs severed a main artery, but no autopsy was done. At 3:59 doctors at Memorial Hospital pronounced Lane Frost dead.
Tony Engerg sums it up in his poem titled “July in Cheyenne”…
Yeah, there’s memories I’d just as soon forget ’bout Cheyenne and mud and rain;
Memories that pierce the soul and stir up old, like-new pain.
That reminds me clearly of the cost
We agree to pay when playin’ our hand,
And of the good friends we lost,
In the rain, and mud, in July, in Cheyenne.
Tuff Hedeman, Lane’s best friend and traveling partner, accompanied Lane to the hospital.
He had a hard time believing what happened because the wreck didn’t look bad, he had seen Lane be in a lot worse situations and get up and walk away. Actually, Lane’s teeth were still wired from a worse-looking wreck a month earlier in Fort Worth. Just like a good best friend would, it was Tuff who had to make the call to Lane’s Mom and Dad back in Oklahoma, Tuff who called Lane’s wife Kellie, who for the very first time, did not go to Cheyenne Frontier Days, Tuff who cleaned the mud off Lane’s chaps and boots, and it was Tuff, who, for the last time, along with Cody Lambert, traveled with Lane back home to Oklahoma the next morning, in a plane chartered by Cheyenne Frontier Days committee. The dark sky’s and rain from Cheyenne seemed to follow Lane to Oklahoma. 3500 people stood in the pouring rain to pay their respects to Lane on August 2nd in Atoka, Oklahoma. Lane was laid to rest at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, OK.,
near his good friend Freckles Brown.
Later that year at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas Tuff Hedeman went on to win the world championship and on the final day rode an extra 8 seconds for Lane in front of Kellie and Lanes parents. In August of 1990, Lane was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, becoming the youngest cowboy ever inducted. Also in 1990, Garth Brooks released the video “The Dance”
with clips of Lane in it, and dedicated it to him. On July 24, 1993 a Memorial Sculpture by Chris Navarro of Lane riding a bull was dedicated to Lane at the Frontier Days Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Lane’s Parents, Kellie Frost, and even Luke Perry, who was filming the movie “8 Seconds” at that time, attended. It was the first time the Frosts were back in Cheyenne since Lane’s death.
In 1994 the movie 8 Seconds was released,which was supposed to tell Lane’s story. However, Hollywood decided to add some details, and leave other details out. The 2 main disputes between the movie and Lane’s real life were, first, Lane was a Christian. In the movie, this was not mentioned, to the dismay of his parents and Kellie. The producers did not want God brought into the movie. Second, Clyde Frost, Lane’s Dad, is not like the father in the movie. According to one of Lane’s friends, “if there was anyone proud of Lane, it was Clyde. Lane didn’t have to prove himself to Clyde, he had his approval from the start.” This also upset Luke Perry pretty bad. Perry said in an interview “I did (a movie) called “”8 Seconds”" that haunts me to this day. The portrayal of my character’s father in that film, and it was a true life story, it portrayed him as being much harsher
in his relationship with his son than ever he truly was. And somehow through all of the small day-to-day battles that one has on a movie set with the creative powers that be on some level, that got by me. And I feel that in that film we misrepresented to the world the depth of the emotion and the love and compassion of a man named Clyde Frost.” A few other minor differences in the movie were Cody Lambert does not write poetry, Lane lived in Utah until 1978, moving to Oklahoma when he was 14, Lane rode 9 out of 10 bulls at the 1986 National Finals Rodeo, not in 1987, the year he won the Championship, Lane did not win the 1987 Championship until he rode his bull in the 10th, and final round (The 10th bull was not Red Rock.), In the movie the “Challenge of the Champions” between Lane and Red Rock takes place in Texas, and there were only three match ups. The Challenge was actually seven match ups and took place in California, Oregon, and Utah, and Lane rode Red Rock 4 out of the 7 times, when Lane was killed in Cheyenne, there were no family members present, and finally the movie made it appear that Tuff Hedeman did not win a World Championship until after Lane’s death in 1989. Actually, Tuff won his first championship in 1986, one year before Lane won his. Had Lane rode Red Rock at the NFR in 1986 he would have won the World Championship. In my opinion Luke Perry put his heart and soul into his role as Lane and if you have never seen 8 Seconds, it is a must see. Just have the tissues handy! Also, all involved in Lane’s life agreed that even though the movie didn’t portray Lane to a tee, it was great for the sport and also a wonderful tribute to the man they loved.
Today Lanes legacy lives on through his friends, parents, and numerous memorials. From the statue in Cheyenne to the many scholarships in his name Lane will never be forgotten. Lane’s
parent’s also continue to attend rodeos and speak about Lane, the importance of safety, faith, and family. Tuff won three world title’s and the continues to be in the bull riding field as the president of the CBR (Championship Bull Riding). He also has a son named after Lane. Cody Lambert invented the vest that all bull riders are now required to wear soon after Lane’s death.
I hope the story of Lane Frost has touched you half as much as it has me, and if so be sure to make the short trip up to old Cheyenne and feel the magic around Lane’s statue and the arena wear he rode his last ride. God bless and never forget “the Champion” Lane Frost.