“Cowboy is his name”

Makayla Carrico, Reporter

After Luke Perry’s death on Monday.. Many of his fans will remember Perry as his role as the 90’s tv show heartthrob Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210 but, not all of his fans would agree. As his role as Lane Frost in the movie 8 Seconds will forever leave a lasting mark on the hearts of those who live in the West and how Perry changed the Rodeo Industry/Western lifestyle forever.

In the movie 8 Seconds, a rodeo biopic of famed bull rider Lane Frost, who died tragically after sustaining injuries July 30th ,1989 while competing in Cheyenne, Wy at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Was a shocking reminder to all competitors of the sport and to the fans of  of Rodeo, the dangers of playing the game. After his tragic death rodeo fans and everyone involved in the industry, hearts were in pieces after, the lost, of one the biggest stars in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit. Lane who was just beginning the height of his career, with one World Championship in his belt, good lookin’, talented, personable, and a future as big as the western skies. Lane had it all. It was no doubt that it would take a very special young man to portray Lane and his legacy.

 

Luke Perry, was the perfect match for the job. As a young child of the nineties and of West Texas, Perry was impeccably the one man who could do it. His impact as Lane Frost in the sport has been immeasurable, inspiring many generations (years after Lane’s death and after the movie was released) to one day be a cowboy,“…last of Gods breed,” as Stephen Baldwin as Tuff Hedeman three time World Champion Bull Rider and Lane’s traveling buddy would say.  Perry open the gate for rodeo, bring the life of a rodeo cowboy to the big screen and leaving a brand that would never be forgotten.

 

Even though Perry was never a member of the PRCA, he was apart of the western ideals, growing up in West Texas his grandmother would drag his cousins and him to rodeo’s in Pecos, Del Rio, Odessa, Midland and other West Texas towns. His father was a horse-trailer manufacturer, one grandfather was a veterinarian, and the other an amateur rodeo and ranching cowboy of the sixties. To say the least, Perry was very familiar in the agriculture department. But in the end what truly made the difference was Perry’s dedication to truly portraying Lane and who Lane Frost was; a kind, selfless, talented young man who loved the sport.  Luke actually took lessons with former Champion Bull Rider Gary Leffew on how to ride a bull properly and how to resemble Lane’s style. Due to the set not wanting Perry to get hurt during filming, Luke did not ride a real bull in the movie, but after production Luke Perry played his hand in the most dangerous sport in rodeo. He did not go professionally but he was forever known and recognized by fans, for Perry shined a light on the sport and lifestyle that is loved so dearly by the wilder hearts.

When news broke of Perry’s death the rodeo family was quickly to act on showing their condolences for his family and to honor his legacy. The PRCA ProRodeo  posted on March 5 on Facebook.com, “Luke Perry was never a member of the PRCA, but he did have quite an impact on the sport of rodeo through the movie 8 Seconds. In countless bio’s on the PRCA website-ProRodeo numerous cowboys were inspired to rodeo after watching 8 Seconds.” And one of those cowboys is 2012 PRCA World Champion Bull Rider Cody Teel, who has been a part of the PRCA since 2011 and has been an athlete with the Professional Bull Rider’s (PBR) for the past nine years.  Another post stated, “We lost a good one today! Luke Perry passed away at the age of 52. I didn’t know him personally but he portrayed Lane Frost in 8 seconds better than anyone could. He always good to my grandparents Clyde and Elsie and kept in contact with them ever since the movie. You will be missed. Give lane a big hug for us.” And Fashion Posse saying,

“To the rodeo world this is like losing someone all over again. Luke, thank you for bringing Lane Frost’s story back to life and putting rodeo on the big screen. You will forever be loved by rodeo fans. Rest in peace.”

Lane Frost’s legacy lives on, whether it’s “…in the rain and the mud in July in Cheyenne…,” or in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, he will forever be among rodeo’s greatest and Luke, Luke will  ride along with Lane as a cherished member of the rodeo family.