A Night to Remember
As time passes in your life certain memories never waver from your existence. Thoughts and actions bring you back to those memories, memories that come from time to time. Picking up today's Daily Oklahoman newspaper brought back one of those significant memories in my life. On July 29th, 1989 my family and I were on vacation traveling through Wyoming heading toward Cheyenne. As we arrived in Cheyenne we decided to call ahead and get motel reservations in Ft. Collins, Colorado, just a short hour south of Cheyenne. As I pulled in a downtown parking lot to use a nearby pay phone to set up our evening’s reservations a limo pulled up in front of the famous Plains Hotel. Within seconds Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Waylon Jennings departed the limo and entered the historic Plains Hotel. I did a double take, got my senses back in order and realized that the three men I had just seen were impersonators of the famous three. Turning around in the phone booth after calling Ft. Collins, I noticed a poster on the glass of the booth advertising the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo that was going on at the Fairgrounds that night and the rest of the weekend. Being a Saturday night, the poster showed that the three famous entertainers were to perform during the Rodeo, along with the country group Alabama, which was scheduled for that night in the outside arena. The Frontier Days Rodeo was scheduled for the next night.
My wife was just as excited to see "not" the real deal with the three lookalikes, unlike my two boys who could care less, one because of age and the other because of interest. We decided to go the Frontier Days Rodeo (which is like a State Fair, with exhibits, rides and such, as we still had the balance of the evening to have a good time.
Arriving at the Fairgrounds, we found that the group Alabama would be bringing out every "cowboy" within a hundred miles of Cheyenne, all dressed in long rider coats, with their cowgirls on their arm, even if it was a mild summer evening. The ten thousand concert goers were something to see, with most of them already past their first six pack of Coors. As we walked the fairgrounds we found out that we could go into the stables and view the livestock and professional cowboy’s horses and alike stuff. Walking past various stalls we came upon the one being used by the best cowboy in the world at the time, Lane Frost. Having a little amount of knowledge with professional rodeos and its history, I pointed out to my oldest son the young man sitting on a bale of hay and how in the future he might become the greatest professional bull rider/all-around cowboy in history. In a brief exchange with Lane Frost, I wished him well, from one Oklahoman to another, and we went on down the aisle to another stall.
After a couple of hours at the fair, we got in our 85 Olds Cutless (a great car) and motored down to Ft. Collins for the evening. A nice vacation day topped off with a fun unexpected evening at the world famous Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.
The next night Lane Frost of Lane, Oklahoma was killed when the bull he was riding, Taking Care of Business, gored him in the side, broke his ribs, severing a artery. He died on the arena floor of internal bleeding.