The “unrideable” bucking bull, Red Rock, was finally ridden.

By DARRELL ARNOLD, originally published in the August 1988 issue of Western Horseman. 

Lane Frost riding Red Rock
Red Rock won this match with Lane Frost at Red Bluff, California. Photo by Linda Rosser

Red Rock, many of you will recall, is the famed 1987 PRCA bull of the year who was retired from regular rodeo competition after the 1987 NFR. At that time, he had a career record of 309 times out of the chute without a qualified ride; that after four years of PRCA competition and four times at the NFR. Last February, we reported that Red Rock’s owners, John Growney and Don Kish, of the Growney Brothers Rodeo Company of Red Bluff, Calif., were ready to retire the bull to herd sire.


Lane Frost standing next to Red Rock
Lane Frost and Red Rock. The bull is very gentle and easy to handle when he’s outside the rodeo arena. As a calf he was orphaned, and raised in a backyard. Photo by Linda Rosser

Well, after they thought it over for a while, the owners decided Red Rock was too good a bull to just fade away into history, so they devised a plan to get the great bull a little more publicity. They temporarily un-retired the brindle brute and established a series of six one-on-one matches between Red Rock and Lane Frost, the 1987 PRCA world champion bull rider.


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The series started at Red Bluff, Calif., where Lane found himself eating dirt after a two-second ride. Then, a week later at Clovis, Calif., déjà vu two seconds and off. That attempt was Frost’s fourth try at the bull. He had drawn Red Rock at two NFRs, in ’85 and ’86.

Lane was beginning to understand the bull a bit, and since the series didn’t count toward the 1988 PRCA standings, he decided he could afford to gamble. When he climbed down on Red Rock for their fifth meeting, at the Redding Rodeo at Redding, Calif., last May 20th, Frost took a seat about a foot off-center to the right. The maneuver paid off. Red Rock was never able to get ahead of Frost, and he rode him the full eight seconds.

The unrideable bull was “rode” after 311 previous attempts had failed. Rodeo history was made that day, and, ironically, being ridden probably made Red Rock more famous than he would have been if he’d stayed in the pasture, undefeated. And, while the great bovine champ was down, he certainly wasn’t out. Unfortunately for Frost, Red Rock still had three chances for revenge. At the time of this writing, there were three match-ups to go. In a later column we’ll let you know how it all came out.

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