On this page you will
learn about Red Rock, the famous bull that was retired
from the rodeo
circuit in 1987, after never being ridden for the full 8 seconds.
And you will read about the
Event match-up between
Lane and Red Rock that took place in 1988 called
"The Challenge of the
is a poster that was available to Lane's fans after the
"Challenge Of The Champions". Through cooperation
John Growney and Linda Rosser, a reprint of it is now available.
Some viewers have written to me a little confused
because I say Red Rock retired unridden,
then I say Lane rode him.
Let me try to clear it up......
Red Rock was never successfully ridden for
8 seconds during his PRO RODEO career.
He bucked off 309 riders during this time.
Red Rock was retired after the 1987 National Finals Rodeo.
So 1987 was his last year in Pro Rodeo.
He was retired unridden in Pro Rodeo Competition.
Lane and Red Rock were matched up in
"Challenge of the Champions" in 1988,
after Red Rock was retired from Pro Rodeo.
"Challenge of the Champions"
was a special match-up between Lane and Red Rock,
not part of the rodeo season.
So Red Rock remained unridden
during his Pro Rodeo Days
and was only ridden by Lane
after he retired from Pro Rodeo
in the special match up.
Hope that helps!
John Growney, owner of Red
Rock and friend of Lane,
still is a stock contractor today.
He will be featured in the
film "Cowboy Up-Let The Truth Be Told"
©David Wittkower-Cowboy Up
"I wish every cowboy out there would be like Lane and learn that every time you make a friend,
you make a fan, and if every cowboy would make 10 new friends a year,
they would create so many fans that we would have a fan base that would never end."
(See Past Quotes for more quotes from John.)
To answer some popular questions:
1) Red Rock was not involved in Lane's death,
nor did Lane ever get seriously injured riding Red Rock.
2) Lane did not draw Red Rock in the Finals in
the year he won the World Championship.
However Lane would have won the World Championship in 1986,
but he drew Red Rock and was bucked off.
He also would have been the first rider to ride all 10 bulls
at the Finals in 1986, had it not been for Red Rock bucking him off.
3) The "Challenge of the Champions"
was a 7 Event Match-Up
between Lane and Red Rock held in California, Oregon and
not a 3 Event Match-Up held in Texas.
4) Yes, Kellie was there at the 7th Match-Up in
Spanish Fork, UT.,
and Lane remarked that:
"Kellie being there gave me more
|Lane rides Red Rock
for the first time
at Redding, CA.during the
"Challenge of the Champions"
May 20, 1988
First, a little bit about Red Rock......
Red Rock's Story
Red Rock was born on a ranch in Sisters Oregon in 1976.
He was a red, tiger-striped brindle Brahma-Hereford mix, and
named after a rock formation near the ranch.
His mother died when he was born, and the family
milk cow was used to nurse him.
He began rodeo life at the age of two, when he
was sold to Mert Hunking,
a local stock contractor.
He became the local legend, and spent the next
six years bucking the riders off before the count of eight.
In 1984, Mert, who had terminal cancer,
contacted stock contractor
John Growney of Growney Brothers in Red Bluff, Ca.
He was looking for a good home for Red Rock,
and heard John, and partner Don Kish, took exceptional care of their stock.
Red Rock was 8 when John bought him, and by that age
many bucking bulls are on the down side of their career.
But because of Red Rock's reputation
John bought the bull sight unseen.
Now in Pro Rodeo, Red Rock continued his streak of
bucking the riders off before the count of eight.
From 1984 to 1987 there were 309
attempts to ride Red Rock, and the bull won every one.
After bucking off a rider,
Rock was known to do a
"Victory Lap" around the arena before he exited.
Red Rock also made the National Finals Rodeo
from 1984 to 1987.
In the 1984 Finals, he bucked off
Charles Sampson and Cody Snyder.
In the 1985 Finals he bucked off
Lane Frost and Gary Toole.
In the 1986 Finals he bucked off
Ted Nuce, and Lane Frost.
Red Rock was the only bull that bucked Lane off that
which kept Lane from being the first bull rider
to ride all 10 bulls at the Finals.
But, even worse, had Lane been able to ride
he would have won the 1986 World Championship.
In the 1987 Finals, Red Rock
off Gary Toole,
and, for the last time in competition, in the
10th round, Cody Custer.
After the 1987 Finals, Red Rock
1987 World Champion Bucking Bull.
Lane Frost was the
1987 World Champion Bull Rider.
And John Growney, Red Rock's owner,
had a talk with Lane Frost
about a contest between the two champions.
Red Rock does his "Victory Lap"
and leaves the arena for the last
time in competition at the 1987 National Finals.
Officially retired from
the rodeo circuit,
he remained unridden after 309 attempts.
Cody Custer was the last rider to draw
(and get bucked off!) Red Rock in competition.
John and Lane decided on
"The Challenge of the Champions"
It would be a seven event match-up
between Lane Frost, who was 24 years old
and weighed in at 145 pounds, and
Red Rock, who was 12 years old and
weighed in at 1750 pounds.
The match was scheduled to be
held during the spring and summer of 1988.
was first decided to have six matches,
at six different rodeos.
A seventh match at Livermore was added later.
Match #1 April 17, 1988
Red Bluff, California
Red Bluff was Red Rock's "home town"
and he certainly gave them a show to cheer about.
Unfortunately, the show only lasted two seconds.
The gate opened,
Red Rock blew out,
and Lane flew off.
An announcer at a rodeo once
commented that he wasn't quite sure what Red Rock does,
no rider had stayed on him long enough for the announcer to figure it out.
Match #2 April 24, 1988
The second match might have been
a different day, and a different town,
but the results were the same.
The score now was:
Lane was getting concerned,
(worried, upset, nervous?)
that the match would wind up being
7-0 in favor of Red Rock.
Match #3 May 20, 1988
Unlike the first two match-ups that were only a week apart,
Lane had almost a month to prepare for this, the third one.
He used every available minute
that he wasn't
study videotapes of Red Rock
and quiz others who had tried to ride him.
The stands were full in Redding,
everyone was waiting to see the showdown.
All of Lane's studying had paid off
and Lane became the first bull rider
to ever stay on Red Rock's back
for the 8 second count.
Lane also had an extra incentive
to ride Red Rock this time.
"Kellie was at home and told me to
'just go out there and ride him,
and call her when I got done.' For
some reason I had it in my mind
I that I had to ride him to call her."
Asked after the ride how he did it
Lane said he altered his position on Red Rock.
Or, in Lane's words,
"I scooted my butt over to the right side.
On most bulls I'd move over that far only if I was getting off.
By scooting over, I started out ahead of him.
I know I can't catch up to him
when he goes to the right, I've tried."
Lane at Redding,
Ca. riding Red Rock
the first time for 8 seconds
during the 3rd match-up in
Challenge of the Champions.
|These are a series of pictures of Lane
after he successfully
rode Red Rock the first time,
|there were a lot of vocal doubters
that Lane would ever ride Red Rock,
|and one of his happiest days
was the day he proved them wrong.
The score was now:
One of the first people to call Lane
when he arrived home to congratulate him was Edith Brown,
the widow of Lane's friend and teacher Freckles Brown.
Freckles died of cancer in 1987, and Lane missed him greatly,
and always regretted that Freckles was not there
to see him win the World Championship, or ride Red Rock.
Match #4 June 11,1988
was another long break between matches,
and while Lane used some of the time to continue
to study Red Rock's moves,
he also knew that, while he was still out there rodeoing,
Red Rock was using the break to relax in the shade.
About the fourth match, Lane said:
"I don't think it will be any easier.
Maybe I have a little more
However, the Livermore match
went just as smooth as Redding for Lane,
and again, in front of a packed house,
he rode Red Rock for 8 seconds.
The score was now:
|Lane and Red Rock at Livermore, Ca.
was the second time
Lane rode Red Rock.
|Lane acknowledges the cheering crowd......
Rock, looks on as if to say
"And where did this guy come from?"
Remember Red Rock's "Victory Lap"
after bucking off a rider?
After Livermore, Red Rock knew something was different,
and instead of his "Victory Lap",
he turned and looked at Lane before leaving the arena.
So Lane won his second match up,
the score was tied,
but they would meet again the next day in Sisters, Oregon.
Out of all the stories I've ever read or heard
about Lane, the one that I think of the most
is one he told us about the "Challenge of the Champions"
first part is told by Karen Martin a licensed PRCA photographer.
It is her photo of Lane and Red Rock you see on Lane's headstone in
The match at Livermore, Ca. was over.
Lane was "pitching a fit" in Livermore. He had just
rode Red Rock for the second time.
The next day a match up was scheduled in Sisters, Oregon.
Now, Lane wanted to fly to Oregon
but John Growney insisted that if Red Rock couldn't fly, neither could
So John loaded Red Rock and Lane in the same rig and drove them both
up to Sisters
which is a drive of about 10 hours.
I still smile at the "fit" Lane pitched.
But John said, "fair is fair".
Yes, Lane was grumbling about it but he also had a smile on his face
as he got into the truck.
John and Lane were very close.
I remember that I always liked Lane's laugh
This part of the
story is from Lane.
At a fuel stop Lane walked over to the trailer and looked at
"Only hours before", he thought, "10,000
people had come to cheer for them.
The next night in Sisters, another grandstand packed with people will cheer for
But now, late at night in the middle of nowhere, all they really
were was a
dusty, tired cowboy and a bull."
I think this story partly explains why people
were drawn to Lane.
Even though he was a World Champion,
and crowds cheered for him,
and waited in lines for his autograph, or to take a picture with him,
he never forgot who he was inside.
He didn't see himself as someone special, and that's what made him all the
more special to us.
#5 June 12,1988
Sisters was the town Red Rock
was born in,
but Lane came out the winner in the 5th Match.
"He really blew", Lane said.
"He tried to jump over the moon."
The score was now:
Lane was leading the match for the first time.
It felt great!
|Lane rides Red Rock for the
third time at Sisters, Oregon.
|After the ride.
Below is a
program from the Sisters Oregon
Rodeo where Lane rode Red Rock on
June 12, 1988.
Top left is the program, Top right is a ticket.
Bottom left is the rider's score sheet.
Bottom right is a hand flyer.
Below is the page from the program
advertising the ride.
Notice it says Red Rock was
never successfully ridden in 311 tries.
The program was printed before
Lane successfully rode Red Rock in
Redding and Livermore California.
After Sisters, the next match was
almost a month later, on July 4, 1988.
again, Lane was busy competing
in rodeos all month,
while Red Rock rested in the shade.
Match # 6 July 4, 1988
St Paul, Oregon
If Lane rode
Red Rock, he would have won the
"Challenge of the Champions" on this date.
But Red Rock came out the winner,
and the score was tied at
Which ever one won the next match
3 weeks away would win the Challenge.
It was a long, long 3 weeks for Lane Frost.
Match #7 July 25, 1988
Spanish Fork, Utah
Challenge was held at the end of a three day rodeo event.
Right before it was held, Lane remarked on the fact that
Red Rock was cool and calm.
"I had been rodeoing hard, a rodeo almost
every day for two weeks. I figured all the
advantages were Red Rock's.
The ground was hard, he'd been resting
for three weeks.
I knew it was the last chance I had to ride him,
and he was loose and cool.
He didn't have any idea it was the last time.
It was just another chance to buck me off.
One thing that was in my favor.
My wife, Kellie, came to watch,
and it helped me,
made me have more confidence."
Lane rode Red Rock at Spanish Fork,
and won the "Challenge of the Champions" 4 to 3.
The judge's watch, stopped when Lane dismounted,
read 9.63 seconds.
|At the 7th Match Up, Red Rock tried all the
tricks he knew, but he just couldn't buck Lane off.
"I was glad it was over,"
I'd do it again, but I sure was glad it
was over. Out there, in the arena after
I got off, I thought, one of the greatest
things in rodeo was over. The one-on-one
was something that everyone could understand."
And people did understand that the
Challenge was a great rodeo event.
It was covered by USA Today, ProRodeo
Sports News, Sports Illustrated and
The George Michael Sports Machine.
After the Challenge of the Champions
Lane Frost was the only person who
was able to stay on Red Rock for 8 seconds.
After Lane's death in 1989, Red Rock's owner,
John Growney, decided that he wanted Lane to
be the last bull rider to ever sit on Red Rock's back.
However, Red Rock was gentle enough to let
children visiting the ranch sit on his back for pictures!
In 1989 Red Rock attended the memorial service
held during the National Finals Rodeo
in Las Vegas.
In 1990 Red Rock was inducted into the
"Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame"
in Colorado Springs, Colorado,
at the same time Lane was inducted.
Red Rock attended the ceremonies.
He was the third bucking bull
to be inducted in the Hall,
the other two were Tornado,
ridden by Lane's friend and teacher Freckles Brown,
Red Rock died on June 8, 1994 on the
Growney Ranch in Red Bluff, California.
He was 18.
He apparently suffered a stroke,
and died while the vet was attending to him.
He is buried on the Growney Ranch
in Red Bluff, California, under the shade of an oak tree.
Clyde Frost, Lane's father, commented
"He was a great bull and he had a great life.
I know he's in a better place now...but he
had it pretty good here too."