While many bull riders feed off of adrenaline rushed schedules and lifestyles, steadiness seems to suit 2018 NFR bull riding qualifier, Joe Ferd Frost.
Frost is one of two bull riders at this year’s NFR that is making his fifth consecutive appearance. His life changes significantly each year, but the constant is that every December he packs his truck and heads to Las Vegas to attempt the one title that eludes him - PRCA World Champion Bull Rider.
Joe Ferd Frost knows how to win. The five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier is the first and only cowboy in history to earn the triple crown of national championship titles. He entered the professional rodeo world as a promising young bull rider who won the National Jr. High School title (2007), a few years later he stood on the podium winning the National High School Rodeo Championship (2010), and soon advanced to earn College Rodeo's top bull riding honor in 2014.
"You have to block out the pressure and be the very best every time, and if you can't do your job you take a chance of getting hurt, it's a dangerous sport and important to stay focused," said the bull rider who hails from a long line of pro rodeo athletes named Frost.
Frost is an all-around cowboy who enjoys competing in multiple events. He claimed four individual rodeo all-around titles in 2017 and earned over one million dollars as a professional athlete. His mantel is littered with buckles and awards including the coveted Bill Linderman Memorial Award, which is presented yearly to the leading cowboy with minimum earnings of $1,000 in three events.
Since first taking the dirt in 2014 at the Thomas and Mack, Frost has won five rounds in NFR competition. He has never finished outside the top 5 in the average. His best finish was that same year where he was second in the average, 490.5 points on 6 bulls, and second in the final PRCA World Standings. In 2015 he tied for fourth with Clayton Foltyn,404.5 pts on 5. In 2016 he did not win an NFR round, but was fourth in the average, 407.5 on five.
In 2017, Frost rode 7 of 10 and 585 points to finish second in the NFR standings and fourth in the title race. His strong second in the average finish was slightly overlooked in the rodeo world behind the highly contested photo finish between Trey Benton and Sage Kimzey.
A great deal has changed in Joe’s life and the PRCA since he began his career. Joe graduated from Panhandle State University, he was married in 2017 (Kylee Frost), and his younger brother Josh is now carrying the Frost family tradition as a professional bull rider, and they travel together when possible.
Joe Frost is a third generation PRCA competitor. His grandfather Joe Frost and his Dad Shane Frost were both PRCA members. Josh's great uncle Clyde Frost competed at the first NFR in 1959 in bareback riding and returned multiple times in both bareback and saddle bronc riding. Josh's second cousin is the late Lane Frost, a five-time NFR qualifier and PRCA World Champion bull rider whose rodeo life was depicted with Tuff Hedeman in the feature film 8 Seconds.
This generation of Frost’s grew up in Utah in a family that also included two brothers and a sister.
It is no surprise he wanted to be a bull rider. He learned how to ride bulls by watching his legendary cousin’s instructional video, “Lane Frost Bull Talk.”
“That’s the basis of my riding,” he said. “I started watching that when I was 4 or 5 years old. Before I came out here (to the NFR), I watched it every day.
“You grow up a Frost, we all ride bulls. My dad and Lane, my brothers. That’s all we talk about,” Joe said. “That’s all we play as little kids. Riding bulls.”
“I’ve been very lucky to have so many great people around, a lot of great mentors,” Joe said. “My dad has been the biggest mentor and role model for me my whole life. He taught me everything I know.”
He graduated from Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah where he won two state bull riding championships and an all-around state title. He would go on to win the 2014 intercollegiate bull riding championship as a member of the Panhandle (Okla.) State rodeo team and it was there he met one of the most influential people in his life, his rodeo coach and nine-time NFR qualifier, Craig Latham.
Joe dedicated his 2014 eighth-round win to Latham and presented him the buckle at the South Point ceremony following the victory. Latham was fighting cancer at the time and made the trip to Las Vegas not knowing how many more chances he would have to see his star student compete.
“I’ve learned so much being around him, I’ve learned a lot about rodeoing, but even more about the type of person I want to be,” said Frost.
Although the final word is yet to come on the 2018 season, Joe won 8 PRCA bull riding event titles to earn $96,162.70 in the qualifying regular season race and enters Vegas as the No. 13 bull rider.
Since turning pro in 2013, Joe has dabbled in bull riding only tours winning Tuff Hedemans Bossier (2015) and his legendary Fort Worth Championship Challenge in 2017.
According to Frost, the Fort Worth event win was special. With close family friend Tuff Hedeman handing him the check and the buckle, and earning the W at the event that is revered as the historical birthplace of stand-alone bull riding.
“It was exciting to have my name up there in history on such a prestigious event,” said Frost.
In 2018 Joe and his brother Josh competed in the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour with a top 3 finish in El Paso and they competed in Las Vegas as well. Joe is a CBR two-time event champion and was a three-time CBR World Finals qualifier. One of Joe’s highest marked career rides was with Hedeman standing at the chute when he posted a 92.5 in 2017 on Hurst’s NFR bucker - Yellowhair.
THE CONSISTENCY THEOREY
One of Joe’s mentors is Denny Flynn, a 10-time NFR qualifier and 3-time average winner. Joe follows Denny’s advice of getting on practice bulls consistently during his career, the gym does not provide the same workout as getting on bulls, and it seems to be paying off, year after year.
How do you prepare mentally?
I think over the last 4 years it has gotten easier to prepare because I have a better understanding of where I need to be mentally and physically when I walk into the Thomas and Mack Center for the 1st round, as well as how I need to feel when I walk in there on the night of the 10th round. I better understand the emotional roller coaster that those 10 days attempt to take you on and how I have to battle that.
What will be your physical workout routine?
“I will prepare for the finals by riding between 20 and 25 practice bulls, the main reason for that is to make sure I am in the best “riding shape” possible. I will also work out daily for the whole month of November, workouts that target flexibility, strength and speed.
What would be your first and last round stock picks if you could select?
If I could pick my first and last round bull what would it be? I don’t really know what pens will be put on those nights but if it was all up to me, I’d start out with Broken Arrow of Bar T and end with Sweet Pro Bruiser of D&H.”
Best up and coming bull rider you saw on the trail this year?
There are a lot of young bull riders that I’m really impressed with right now, I would have to say Koby Radley really impressed me bring a young guy who stepped up when it mattered and made the finals kinda how Boudreaux Campbell did last year!
What do you do when you are not on the road riding bulls?
“When I’m not rodeoing I’m at home doing ranch work, my wife and I have 150 head of cows and we also spend a lot of time gardening and we have gotten into preserving a lot of the food we grow, we also have about 50 head of chickens and 6 ducks. After that Amy spare time I spend doing leather work or braiding bull ropes.”
What is Joe Frost's inspiration this year?
My inspiration comes from a lot of people like that who have had an impact on my life. But at this point in my career it’s as simple as I love riding bulls and more than that what really thrills me is riding really rank bulls and making it look easy, it doesn’t happen like that as often as I’d like but that’s the goal I have every time I get on.
*Frost is a second cousin to Lane Frost who won the PRCA world bull riding title in 1987 and was killed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming in 1989 by a bull he had ridden in the finals for prize money.