This pair made Tyson and Spinks look like a couple of light-weights.
Together, the champions who met Monday night at the Spanish Fork rodeo grounds weighed 1,895 pounds. Lane Frost, 1987 world champion bull rider, contributed 145 of those pounds. Red Rock, the 1987 world champion bull, accounted for the other 1,750 pounds."It was a natural choice for a contest," said John Growney, part owner of Red Rock and Growney Brothers' Rodeo Co. "Red Rock had bucked 309 riders when we retired him, but Lane had never ridden him. We brought Red Rock out of retirement for seven more rodeos. Lane has ridden him three times and been bucked three times. Tonight will decide the champion.
"We want Red Rock to have the recognition he deserves. We don't want him to be a has-been, a nobody."
Growney said he bought Red Rock for $10,000 five years ago from an Oregon company.
"He has more than paid it back. In his last year alone, he won $7,000 in awards. We knew he was a lot of bull, but we had no idea how much. We owe Red Rock a lot. Besides the money, he has brought national attention to our rodeo company. People are talking about us."
Growney said Red Rock is not only talented, but considerate.
"I have seen him trip all over himself trying to avoid stepping on a cowboy."
Both the champions went professional eight years ago, when Frost was 16 and Red Rock was 4.
"But I went to my first rodeo at 10," Frost, now 24, said. "I was in rodeos all through high school, then started riding big bulls at 16."
Frost's mother didn't want her baby to grow up to be a cowboy.
"Nobody wants their kid to ride bulls. My family worried and wanted me safe, but they saw I was serious and professional, so they relaxed a little. Now they enjoy watching me ride.
"The first time I rode Red Rock, it was the happiest day of my life - as happy as my wedding day. And a little scarier."
Bull riding has been good to the Quanah, Texas, native.
"I made about $110,000 in each of the last two years.
"I have hurt myself plenty of times, though. Last year in Salt Lake City I got knocked out and got 30 stitches. I have had broken bones. I broke my collar bone once and my nose three times."
He said riding 12-year-old Red Rock had been the highlight of his career to that point.
"I have great respect for him. It's like, if you're a race car driver, you don't want to race Pee-Wee Herman. You want a challenge. You want to do something other people can't do."
The arena's capacity crowd, excited by music from the movie "Rocky," cheered slightly louder for Red Rock. But after a fierce battle, man triumphed over beast. Frost clung to Red Rock's back for just more than the required eight seconds.
Growney was philosophical.
"The sports media has said it best - when two champions meet, there is no loser. I'm happy for Red Rock. He won't have to travel anymore. It's hard to stand in the back of a truck for 800 miles (the distance from the company's ranch in Red Bluff, Calif., to Spanish Fork). You try it sometime.
"He had a good career and he has happy times ahead of him. He has 50 cows waiting for him. He'll live in a field with tall grass and a lot of good women. He's going to go home and wear himself out for a couple of months."
Frost, however, will not vacation.
"There's a bull called Mr. T that has never been ridden. I'm hoping I can catch up with him next.