Professional bull rider Tuff Hedeman lost his best friend and fellow rider, Lane Frost, in a tragic rodeo accident in 1989. Frost’s death was a huge loss for Hedeman, who had lost not only a friend but also a fellow competitor. However, Hedeman honored his friend in a touching and meaningful way that has resonated with fans of bull riding to this day.
Born in El Paso, Texas, in 1963, Lane Frost was a legendary bull rider who began competing professionally in 1984. He quickly made a solid name for himself with his skill, courage, and showmanship, winning numerous competitions and earning his fellow riders' respect and admiration.
Tuff Hedeman, born in El Paso, Texas, 1963, was a talented bull rider who began competing professionally in the early 1980s. Like Frost, he was known for his fearlessness and ability to ride the toughest bulls others had failed to master.
Frost’s life came to a tragic end when he died in a rodeo accident on July 30, 1989. Frost was just 25 years old when he stood his stance atop the intimidating bull named Takin' Care of Business at the popular Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. After completing an 8-second ride, Frost promptly dismounted the bull as he had hundreds of times before, but the raging bull charged Frost and hit Lane square in the back, like a blindside shot from a linebacker, with his horn, breaking several of Frost's ribs. The severe blow caused serious internal injuries that almost immediately killed Frost. As Frost fell to the ground, he reached toward Tuff Hedeman, who was watching from just a few yards away on the other side of the fence.
Five months after Frost's death, 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. The crowd rose to its feet when they realized that Tuff was riding for Lane.
"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."
The touching tribute paid by Hedeman to Frost is a testament to the bond the two shared. Their friendship, born out of a shared love of bull riding, was cut short by tragedy, but their legacy lives on. The movie "8 Seconds" and Tuff's emotional ride in honor of Lane are reminders of the impact that Lane Frost had on the bull riding community and the friendship he shared with Tuff Hedeman.
In addition to his successful career as a bull rider, Tuff Hedeman also worked as a television commentator and producer for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization. He was inducted into the PBR Ring of Honor in 2003 and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1997.
Lane Frost’s legacy as a legendary bull rider and beloved member of the rodeo community has also been celebrated in numerous ways. The Lane Frost Brand, founded by his family, produces a line of clothing and accessories inspired by his life and legacy. The Lane Frost Memorial Bull Riding, held annually in Hugo, Oklahoma, honors Frost’s memory and contributions to the sport of bull riding.