I can't believe it has now been eleven years since we heard the terrible news that Chris LeDoux had passed away. I was first introduced to Chris and his music while working in a record store in Bismarck, North Dakota in the mid 80's. Chris would drive around where he would be rodeoing and stock the local record stores with his music. He was his own publicity machine. I remember the cowboys coming into the store and telling me I had to check this guy out. I was so glad they did. What followed was a lifetime love affair with his music.

When I moved to Colorado in the mid to late 80's I never dreamed that one of the first shows we would do as a radio station was to bring Chris LeDoux in to CSU to play to for a Special Olympics rally. It was the first time I had actually met Chris in person and he was as kind, humble and genuine as could be. He never quit being that guy.

Chris was more than just a singer. Chris was a real cowboy and lived his life the way a man is supposed to. He loved his rodeo, his music, his fans and his family. He had his priorities in line.

Chris was a real man’s man. He treated everyone with respect and everyone who met him respected him immensely. He touched so many lives with his rodeo and music making skills. I had the honor of interviewing Chris many times and one stands out to me. He was just releasing the single “Tougher Than the Rest”, which was a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song. I told him I thought this was the perfect kind of love song for him to sing. He told me “I agree, I don’t really do well with love songs. I can’t sing things that are all full of flowers and syrup but this was kind of a manly love song”. I think of that every time I hear that song. Thank you for being the man you were Chris. You continue to influence to this day even years after you left us…but you will never really be gone.

Brian Gary, TSM
Brian Gary, TSM

The chew can in the photo is a promotional item that was sent to me 23 years ago. I have kept it as a prize possession, as I have everything I have ever received with that cowboy's name on it.

More From K99