I watched a film last week that broke my heart.
It’s called 8 Seconds and it’s about Lane Frost - the youngest ever World Champion Bull Rider.
The world of the professional rodeo cowboy gets only marginal exposure in general market sports media, so few know about the sport unless you grow up around it. It’s damn dangerous. It’s totally wild. It’s crazy. And it’s simply amazing.
My father was a rodeo cowboy as a young man and he’s built a lot like Lane - smallish and lean - so I couldn’t help but think of him as I watched the film… which made me real homesick and nostalgic.
We have wonderful photos of my father during his rodeo years, which I cherish. They conjure stories in my mind of a young man I don’t honestly know, except in part.
What I do know is that my dad loved that life. I can see it in his eyes on the rare occasion he talks about those days - and usually only when he’s asked about it. He used to rodeo on the QT because my grandfather didn’t want that life for my Dad.
Following High School, he gave it up and went into the Corp at Texas A&M to study Agriculture. He didn’t ride again that I know of… and he didn’t become a farmer or a rancher. He became a successful business man, a local politician & a civic leader who has made a real difference in our community. And, while I am so proud of him, I can’t help to think of a whole other life he might have lived… though I know he’d say he made all the right choices.
And while he may live a life far removed from that of a bull rider, all the solid traits of a rodeo cowboy are in my Dad - always have been - guess it’s a chicken or the egg phenomena. Cowboys are cowboys and they’ll always be.
The story of Lane Frost brought it all back to me… God bless him.
And thank you Dad… for raising me under the wing of your cowboy ways.
(via Netflix: 8 Seconds)