Lane Frost will always be remembered as the handsome bull rider with a contagious smile who lost his life doing what he loved. But, there is more to the legendary rodeo star and the legacy he left behind.
Lane was born in 1963 to Clyde and Elsie Frost. At the time of his birth, the Frost’s lived in Lapoint, Utah. Clyde traveled on the rodeo circuit competing as a saddle bronc and bareback rider. While Clyde was away from home, Elsie went to stay with her parents in Colorado. Lane was born at a hospital in nearby La Junta, Colorado.
Lane was the second of three kids born to Clyde and Elsie. He had an older sister named Robin and a younger brother named Cody.
Lane’s love for rodeo was evident early on as he started riding dairy calves on his family’s farm when he was only 5-years-old. Five years later he won his first rodeo awards at the “Little Buckaroos” rodeo. In junior high, Lane competed in wrestling, but when the family moved to Oklahoma, he took up bull riding more seriously. He was named the National High School Bull Riding Champion in 1981 and was the Bull Riding Champion of the first Youth National Finals in Fort Worth in 1982.
According to Elsie Frost, she noticed Lane’s interest in bull riding at a very young age.
“I had noticed that Lane would sleep through most of the rodeo, but when the bull riding would start he would wake up and really start watching what was going on,” Elsie said, recalling a specific time when Lane showed interest. “I got up to go when there were still four or five bull riders left. I had Robin by the hand and was carrying Lane…As we walked out of the seating area, Lane started to cry and looked back towards the arena. I thought, ‘He acts like he wants to stay and watch the bull riding, but no, he’s not old enough to know what’s going on.’ Just to see what be would do, I turned around and walked back in where be could see the arena and what was going on. He stopped crying immediately.”
Elsie’s instincts were correct. Lane continued to compete in bull riding after leaving high school. Upon graduation in 1982, Lane turned down college scholarship opportunities to join the PRCA and started rodeoing full-time. At just 24, Lane became a World Champion Bull Rider.
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Lane met Kellie Kyle when both were competing at the National High School Rodeo finals in 1980. They married five years later at the United Methodist Church in Quanah, Texas.
By 1988, Lane and Kellie’s marriage hit a rocky patch. They chose to separate as his career took a toll on their relationship, but reconciled and made plans for their future, a plan that included building a ranch halfway between their families’ homes in Texas and Oklahoma.
Around the same time Lane met Kellie, he also met the man who would become one of his dearest friends…Tuff Hedeman. A fellow bull rider, Hedeman had similar goals to Lane. They both wanted to be the best.
In 1986, Hedeman barely beat out Lane as the first cowboy to ride all ten bulls in the NFR (National Finals Rodeo). Lane rode nine. But, one year later, Lane rode eight out of ten bulls to earn the title of 1987 World Champion Bull Rider at the NFR.
Tuff and Lane would travel the country together, competing in rodeos in search of the big titles. For awhile, Jim Sharp and Cody Lambert tagged along. Together the guys dominated the sport of bull riding.
Hedeman won the world championship in 1986, Frost won it in 1987, and Sharp in 1988. Hedeman repeated the title in 1989.
Lane Frost was only 25-years-old when he took his place on the back of a bull named Takin’ Care of Business at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo on July 30, 1989. Frost finished his 8-second ride and dismounted the bull, but the animal charged and hit Lane’s back with his horn. The blow broke several ribs and caused internal injuries that led to Frost’s almost immediate death.
“I was standing in the arena,” Tuff recalled of the day he lost his best friend. “When he waved at people to come in and help him I knew it was bad. Lane had the kind of toughness that if he had two broken legs he’d have walked out of the arena. Lane’s pain tolerance was very high.”
Lane was rushed to the arena’s first-aid room, but was unresponsive. He was then transported to a local hospital via ambulance. Tuff was by his side through it all.
“I was hoping and praying – a million things were going through my head – but I knew it was bad,” Tuff said. “They tried to revive him in the ambulance, and kept going in the emergency room. But Lane was gone before he left the arena.”
When medical personnel had done all they could do, they left the room in silence, leaving Tuff alone with Lane.
See Lane Frost’s final bull ride HERE.
“I went over and gave him a hug and a kiss and said, ‘See ya,’” Tuff remembers.
Lane Frost’s death greatly impacted the sport of bull riding. Cody Lambert, Lane’s former rodeo pal and traveling buddy, created the protective vest in hopes of preventing more deaths like Lane’s. In 1996, the PBR made it mandatory for all bull riders to wear the protective vest.
A few months after Lane’s death, Tuff Hedeman won the world championship. After the 8-second whistle blew, Tuff stayed on the bull and rode an additional 8 seconds in honor of Lane.
In 1990, Lane Frost was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. The following year, Tuff Hedeman won his third world title and welcomed his first son, Robert Lane.
In 1994, Lane Frost’s life was immortalized with the release of the movie, “8 Seconds.” Luke Perry starred as Frost, while Tuff Hedeman was portrayed by Stephen Baldwin. The film was released in 1993 on what would have been Lane’s 30th birthday.
The film gives a humorous and emotional look at Lane’s life, his relationship with Kellie and friendships, and his death. The movie earned mixed reviews, but is now legendary among rodeo fans, especially those who recall the events of the tragic and untimely death of Lane Frost.
Tuff Hedeman became president of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) in 1992 and remained in the position until 2004. Tuff was a commentator for televised PBR events from 1999 to 2004.
Hedeman lives on a ranch outside of Fort Worth, Texas. He is married with four sons, the oldest of which is named after Lane Frost. The other three are named Trevor, Ryker and Ripp.
Cody Lambert retired from bull riding in 1996 after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. He helped establish the PBR and lives on a ranch near Bowie, Texas, with his wife, Leanne, and son, Riley.
Kellie Kyle Frost married Mike Macy in 1993. Macy, is also a rodeo champ with two-time National Finals Rodeo team roping titles to his credit. The couple live on a massive ranch near Lubbock, Texas, that has been in the Macy family for more than a century. The couple have two children, Aaron and Brogan, who were successful youth rodeo competitors.
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Kellie was married to Mike during the filming and theatrical release of “8 Seconds.” In an interview promoting the film, she spoke out about how supportive her new husband was through the process.
“This is kind of a closing chapter after the premiere and after the movie’s coming out, for me,” Kellie Macy said. “My husband’s been wonderful support through the whole thing…It’s been hard, but to sit there and watch it brings great joy….But, we chose to do it, and I think it was a great tribute to Lane. That’s the most important thing for me.”
According to LaneFrost.com, Lane’s siblings, Robin and Cody are both married with families of their own. Robin is the mother of two boys while Cody and his wife have three boys.
Lane’s parents, Clyde and Elsie still reside at their Oklahoma ranch and attend NFR events when they are able. They have devoted their life to sharing Lane’s story and his testimony of becoming a Christian not long before his death.
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Lane Frost will forever be remembered by the rodeo community. Not just because of the tragic way his life ended, but because of how he lived.
Prior to his death, friends recall Lane telling them about his faith and encouraging them to become Christians. “I think [Lane’s] greatest witness is now,” one friend said of the legacy Lane left behind. “Because what he does now has a greater impact than what he did when he was alive.”
Clyde and Elsie Frost have distributed more than 380,000 bibles in Lane’s honor.
“We started the Bible ministry, and I speak and tell Lane’s story different places, a lot of youth rodeos and cowboy churches,” Elsie Frost said.
“Lane was a Christian. He hadn’t been a Christian too long before he was killed, so I just feel like that’s the story that God would have us tell people.”
Hear Elsie Frost share about her son’s conversion experience and the most important legacy he left behind in the video below.