Hedeman and Frost were two of the hottest bull riders on the PBR circuit in the 1980s. Known for their fearlessness and ability to ride bulls others had failed to master, the pair were set for long, successful bull riding careers. But, Frost’s dream came to an end on July 30, 1989.
Frost was just 25-years-old when he settled atop the bull named Takin’ Care of Business at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. After finishing an 8-second ride, Frost dismounted the bull, but the animal charged the rider and hit Lane’s back with his horn, breaking several ribs. The blow caused internal injuries that led to Frost’s death almost immediately. As Frost fell to the ground, he reached toward Tuff Hedeman who was watching from the other side of the fence.
Five days later, Frost was laid to rest in Hugo, Oklahoma. More than 3,500 friends, family and fans of the beloved rodeo star gathered to pay their respects that day, but few honored Frost like Tuff Hedeman did five months later.
Hedeman was on track to win the 1989 World Championship at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. When it was his turn to take his last ride of the event, Hedeman mounted his bull and went for the ride of his life. When the 8-second bell rang, Tuff kept riding….for another 8 seconds.
”It was the only time I’ve gotten off a bull with tears running down my face,” Hedeman said following the ride.
In a recent interview, Tuff Hedeman recalled the tragedy that took his best friend’s life and the moments following when Tuff joined Frost in the ambulance and watched doctors try to revive him at the hospital.
“It’s something you just don’t get over. I’ll never be over it,” Hedeman said. “I was better in every way because of him. He was pretty much the one that taught me…you’re supposed to be nice to people. He was gold.”
Hedeman retired from bull riding in 1999, but did so with three PRCA Bull Riding Championships, one PBR World Championship, and eight Hall of Fame honors to his credit.
Lane Frost’s story, including his friendship with Tuff Hedeman, was documented in a movie called 8 Seconds. The movie premiered in 1993, days before what would have been Lane’s 30th brithday. It starred “Beverly Hills 90210” actor Luke Perry as Frost, and Stephen Baldwin took on the role of Tuff Hedeman.
The rodeo world has seen its fair share of heroes; among them, Lane Frost remains an iconic figure. His incredible talent and unwavering bravery made him a legend in the rodeo arena, but his story is also one of heartbreak and tragedy. In professional bull riding, where every second counts, Lane Frost’s last moments are etched into the annals of rodeo history.
It was July 30, 1989, when Lane Frost faced one of the most formidable opponents of his career—a powerful and notorious bull named “Takin’ Care of Business.” This bucking bull had a fearsome reputation for sending cowboys tumbling, and Frost knew he was in for a wild ride. Frost mounted Takin’ Care of Business, the gate swung open, and the eight-second countdown began.
In those adrenaline-charged moments, Lane Frost showcased his remarkable skill and determination. He held on with unwavering resolve, riding the massive bull with the grace and expertise that had made him a crowd favorite. But rodeo is a sport where the line between triumph and tragedy is razor-thin.
Tragically, as the eight-second buzzer sounded, Lane Frost dismounted and was struck by Takin’ Care of Business.
The impact was devastating, leading to fatal injuries. Lane Frost, just 25 years old, had given his all to the sport he loved, and that fateful day marked the end of an era in rodeo.
In the wake of this tragedy, though not widely known, Lane Frost’s last words serve as a poignant reminder of his unwavering passion for rodeo. While attended to by medical personnel, he whispered to them, “I’m all right. Tell Tuff I’m all right.” These words, uttered in the face of immense pain, encapsulate the spirit of rodeo and the camaraderie among its riders.
The bull that took Lane Frost’s life, Takin’ Care of Business, was not inherently malicious. He was a prime example of the dangerous unpredictability that comes with the world of bull riding. Rodeo cowboys understand the risks involved, yet they face them head-on, driven by their love for the sport and the pursuit of greatness.
Lane Frost’s tragic passing served as a stark reminder of the dangers of rodeo, but it also immortalized him as a true rodeo hero. His legacy lives on, not only through his incredible rides but also in the hearts of those who continue to be inspired by his indomitable spirit. The rodeo world lost a legend that day, but Lane Frost’s memory and the lessons learned from his story will forever be a part of the rodeo’s enduring legacy.