Lane Frost Legacy Lives On

by Joseph Smith

ATOKA, Okla. – In Atoka, just past the big box stores and fast food restaurants, is a small store that’s as uniquely Oklahoma as the man it honors. Besides the boots and cowboy hats is a story; a story that might take longer than 8 seconds to tell.

 “I have kids walk into my store looking just like Lane who say ‘I want to be just like him’ because of that movie,” Robin (Frost) Muggli, the sister of the famous rodeo star Lane Frost, said.

Muggli runs the store, “Frost Ranch Wear” where you can buy Lane Frost merchandise. The styles sold are inspired by the rodeo legend and the store works to keep Lane memory and legacy alive.

The Frost family lived in Colorado before moving to Utah where Muggli and her brother Lane spent much of their childhood. Muggli said it was there that Lane developed his love for bull riding. 

Lane attended his first rodeo in Utah where he won high marks in all the events he participated in. Lane wrestled for his school then his family moved to Lane, Oklahoma.

Many people think they know Lane’s story because they watched the movie “8 Seconds.” The film starred Luke Perry as Lane Frost and highlighted his life and death as a rodeo star.

But there is more to his story you don’t know.

“Even though we didn’t like the script they chose my mother was on set every day even developing a relationship with Luke Perry. My mother said he was so polite towards her while she was there,” Muggli said.

“Lane was so disappointed when they moved [to Southeast Oklahoma] since there was no wrestling team at Atoka High School, Cindy Wallis, a local historian, said.

However, instead of wrestling he turned his attention to the rodeo.

“Lane wasn’t good at school so he would charm either the teacher or someone to help so he could be free to rodeo on the weekend,” Muggli said.

Lane won the National High School Bull riding competition in 1981. 

Right out of high school Lane became a full time bull rider for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The PRCA is the oldest governing organization for professional bull riding and the forerunner of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR).

During 1982 he met his foe, a bull named ‘Red Rock.’ 

Despite being named the “best bull rider in the world,” Lane was beaten by Red Rock and bucked before the 8 second requirement on his first try. Red Rock was said to be “unrideable” because he had bucked 309 cowboys.

Lane would eventually conquer Red Rock, making a full 8 second ride on his 4th attempt riding the bull.

Lane’s career and life would end just a few years later. During a ride at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in July of 1989 Lane drew a bull named “Taking Care of Business.”

Lane rode the bull for the full 8 seconds and successfully dismounted.

Taking Care of Business wasn’t finished. The bull turned and charged. 

The hit broke Lane’s rib and punctured his heart. His death wasn’t instantaneous. The Frost family says one of the most true-to-history moments of the movie 8 seconds was the moments just after the bull’s punch.

Lane crawled and signaled to his longtime friend, and fellow bull rider, Tuff Hedeman to help him.

Years later, Hedeman would honor his friend in his own final bull ride. Hedeman’s last bull ride lasted 16 seconds; the first 8 seconds for his win and the second 8 seconds in honor of Lane and the impact his friend had on his life. 

Lane was buried in Hugo, Oklahoma in Mount Olivet cemetery near his own hero and rodeo mentor, Freckles Brown.

The movie “8 Seconds” continues to have an impact on the towns in Oklahoma where Lane lived and rode. 

Lane’s Agriculture teacher at Atoka High School created a scholarship program in his memory. The actor who portrayed Lane in the movie would go on to make major contributions to the scholarship program which is still going on today.

Luke Perry died from a stroke in 2019 and Elsie Frost, Lane’s mother, remembered him as the movie star who became a family friend in an interview with “Country Rebel Clothing Company.”

“He wasn’t someone that thought he was a movie star and couldn’t talk to people,” Elsie said. “He was very down to Earth. When we made the movie, he said he had never played anyone that was a real person before, and he was so conscientious of wanting to do it the way it should be done. I still have his phone number,” 

“He had told me I could call any time, and I knew he meant it. He was truly a nice person, and we are just so saddened by his death. Our heart just goes out to his family. He has got two kids and a brother and a sister and his mother. My heart just breaks for her.” 

Lane’s memory also lives on in a ministry program. The Lane Frost Bible Ministry provides “The Cowboy Bible” continues to impact generations of cowboys and cowboys at heart.

“When it first started we only had like two boxes and no money for another shipment then it was as if a miracle happened we got the money,” Muggli said. The Bibles are sold for just a small donation to help cover shipping costs due to the financial backing of Lane’s friends, family members and fans. 

If you’re looking for a copy of The Cowboy Bible or maybe a new pair of boots that honor one of the best bull riders in the history of the sport, Muggli would welcome you into her store where she’s happy to tell you all about him.

Just expect to spend more than 8 seconds.

Related Articles