Bull riders from across the Intermountain West will compete Saturday to be the champion of the Lane Frost Challenge Tour at the Old Spanish Trail Arena.
The Lane Frost Challenge Tour was organized in 2001 as a two-day event in Vernal, the boyhood home of bull-riding champion Lane Frost. It has since grown to a competition of nine bull-riding events in Utah and Colorado where riders are able to compete for the tour champion.
The final competition is here in Moab.
“The leading riders that win in Moab could pull out the win for the year,” said Eldon Monsen, director of the Lane Frost Challenge. Professional riders will be competing for a cash prize. “Ours riders and bulls are just as good as any anywhere.”
Wes Hortin of Spanish Fork is hoping to win. At age 24, he’s been riding bulls since his junior year of high school. One of his friends was a calf roper and took him to the high school rodeo club meeting. When he was asked what event he’d do, he said, “I’m riding bulls.”
The decision was made on the spur of the moment.
His dad was shocked when Hortin came home to tell him about the decision. He asked his dad to sign a permission slip to be in the club. What his dad didn’t know is that it was a permission slip to ride bulls in a rodeo to be held in St. George.
Hortin has broken a few bones over the years. “Collerbone, ribs, been mowed over a few times,” he said.
The key is to be 100 percent in the game. Distraction can lead to serious injury, he said.
“It’s only eight seconds, but when you’re on the back of a bull it feels like eight minutes. It feels like eight hours.”
Lane Frost’s bull riding career was memorialized in the movie “8 Seconds”, starring Luke Perry.
Frost was named the PRCA World Champion Bull Rider in 1987 at the age of 24.
He died in 1989 while competing at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. After completing an 87-point ride on a bull named Taking Care of Business, Frost dismounted from the rear. The bull quickly turned, crossed over Frost, and broke Frost’s ribs with his horn. A broken rib fatally punctured his heart. He finished third in the event posthumously.
The protective vest that riders now where was designed by Cody Lambert, a friend of Frost.
“It may have saved his life,” Monsen said, had the vest been available to Frost at the time.
Monsen rode calves as a kid, but he said he wasn’t good at it. Instead he chose to raise bulls, train them and haul them to shows.
“They’re athletes, just like the cowboys. When they get in the ring they perform.”