Tuff Hedeman Remembers Lane Frost 34 Years After His Death

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July 30, 2023, marked 34 years since Lane Frost was killed by a bull at Cheyenne Frontier Days. On the anniversary of his death, his best friend, Tuff Hedeman, paid tribute.

July 30, 1989 will go down as one of the saddest days in rodeo history. 25-year-old Lane Frost had just dismounted a bull after a successful ride at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. The bull, named Takin’ Care of Business, struck Lane in the back and broke several ribs which, in turn, punctured Lane’s heart and lungs.

34 years later, Tuff Hedeman remembered Lane Frost by sharing a photo of the two of them laughing. A caption read, “My best friend and the greatest influence in my life. Love and miss you everyday, Lane. – Tuff”

Lane Frost’s Friendship With Tuff Hedeman

Lane Frost and Tuff Hedeman met in 1980 at the High School Rodeo Finals in Yakima, Washington. Tuff recalled meeting Lane and his first impression of the charismatic teen.

“Everybody was already talking about Lane Frost. I thought, ‘So what?’ He was a pretty boy. I wanted to dislike him when I met him. He was better than me and he was the most popular guy in the world. He was cool. But he was really nice,” Hedeman said.

A few years later, Lane and Tuff started traveling together and developed one of the closest friendships in rodeo. Both bull riders, their rivalry was friendly and they root for each other as much as competed against each other.

“Theirs was a special friendship,” Tuff’s wife, Tracy, said. “Lane was a great guy’ he was fun to be around. We got to do a lot with him and with, Kellie. I can’t say I ever had a friend who was as good a friend as Tuff was to Lane. It was just fun to watch.”


Proof of Lane’s love for Tuff was seen in the moments after Lane was injured in Cheyenne. Appearing to know that something was seriously wrong, Lane waved to Tuff before collapsing. Tuff rode in the ambulance with Lane and was there when the doctors pronounced Lane dead. Tuff was also the one who gave Lane’s parents and wife the news of his passing and flew home to Oklahoma with Lane’s body.

How Tuff Hedeman Honored Lane Frost

A few months later, Tuff Hedeman was competing at the 1989 Finals and declared that he was going to win in honor of Lane. Going into the last round, Tuff was up against Jim Sharp for the title. When Sharp was thrown from his bull, Tuff knew all he had to do was stay on for 8 seconds to win the World Championship.

Not only did Tuff Hedeman ride for 8 seconds, but he stayed on an additional 8 seconds for Lane. Tuff later said, “It was the only time I’ve ever gotten off a bull with tears running down my face.”

YouTube video

How Others Paid Tribute to Lane Frost

Following Lane Frost’s death, he was honored with a movie about his life. 8 Seconds, starring Luke Perry as Lane, was released in 1994 and has immortalized the cowboy across generations of rodeo fans.


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A post shared by Lane Frost Brand™ (@lanefrostbrand)

Garth Brooks included Lane in the music video for his song “The Dance.” Clips of Lane were featured alongside those of Keith Whitley, John F. Kennedy, John Wayne and Martin Luther King Jr. Garth explained that those included in the video had a common story…they died for something they believed in “after a moment of glory.”

Country singer Aaron Watson wrote and recorded “July in Cheyenne” about Lane’s life and death. Watson said the song was inspired by a conversation he had with Lane’s mom, Elsie.

“Lane was a world champion bull rider, but that wasn’t his greatest achievement,” Watson recalled Elsie saying to him. “She said his greatest achievement came a year before he died when he asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior. She wished they’d put that part in the movie “8 Seconds,” and they didn’t. But I thought I’m gonna write her a song.”

Watch Aaron Watson’s video for “July in Cheyenne” below.


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