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Tuff.wmv

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Published on Oct 1, 2010

Written and performed by Brent Lonker. The story of Tuff Hedeman and Bodacious will be around long after we are gone. Tuff was and is regarded as the toughest bull rider ever not to mention one of the best ever. He has often been called the most consistent and fundamentally sound bull rider in history. I would add to that "most tenacious." Bodacious will probably forever bear the title of "most dangerous bull ever". It is beyond irony that for Tuff, his duels with Bodacious would result in 1) the greatest ride in a great career, regarded as one of the best ever; 2) his worst personal tragedy and greatest physical injury ever when, in 1995 at the PBR Finals in Vegas, Bodacious jerked him down and broke every bone in his face and 3) the most unlikely of all, the one that made you look to the heavens and ask God "okay, what are you doing Lord, I know you must be up to something." Just 6 weeks after the face injury, weak and over 40 pounds lighter, Tuff goes to the National Finals Rodeo and in the 7th go-around DRAWS BODACIOUS AGAIN!!! This leads to the most excruciating, difficult and painful decision of Tuff's life: ride or not ride? Tuff had watched the video of the injury and saw that he was doing everything perfect at the point where Bodacious was able to hurt him so badly. In other words, no amount of riding skill could prevent it. What made it climactic and nerve-racking for everyone, was that the rules meant Tuff had to make an "attempted ride" or he would forfeit everything. This meant that when the gate swung open, his hand had to in the bull rope and he on the bulls back. At that point he could let Bodacious go from under him and grab the back of the chute. Or, he could ride. No one really knew for sure what he was going to do. With Tuff, you never did...

A note of interest. The "Freckles" referred to in the song is Freckels Brown, who made what many consider the greatest ride ever on the bull known as Tornado at the 1967 Natl. Finals in Oklahoma City. His score was a 97 and it is the ride that all other great rides are compared with. It was the first and only time that Tornado was ridden--in over 200 attempts. Both Freckles and Tornado are in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. To make it even more incredible, Freckles was 46 YEARS OLD WHEN HE MADE THAT RIDE! Red Stegall, the father of the "rodeo song" and who has been supportive of my efforts, wrote a song about the Freckels Brown / Tornada ride called "Freckles Brown", that was an inspiration for "Tuff". For more on that go to www.redstegall.com


Thank you Scotty Tarelton of Blue Ridge Sound for putting this together. He loves the song and the story and wanted it shared, even though small market country radio did such a good job for us. I forgot to thank everyone at Jerry Duncan Promotions for the job they did of promoting the song to small market radio. Jerry, Lisa and Jen, you are the best at what you do....thank you! Hopefully the credits after the song will give credit where credt is due....it's amazing how many people "at the top of their game" are needed and so vital to a song's success. Tuff is no different. My "music soulmate", if there is such a thing, is an incredibly gifted and talented man, Darryl Lee O'Donnell. Thank you Darryl for making "Tuff" happen from your belief, talent and perseverance. I know I don't deserve it, but I am most certainly thankful for all that you have done. I also want to thank two important people who kept me grounded (and loved) when I needed that most. Earnesto Umana, you are a genius and I am lucky to call you friend. Holly Boren, for your love and for believing in me, even when I didn't. You will never know on this side of heaven how loved you are!!

I was most proud when Dan Roberts, writer of "The Beaches of Cheyenne" the #1 single for Garth Brooks said of the song Tuff: "it will be around still being played long after you're gone." If that comes to pass, I couldn't be more proud. This story deserves to be remembered.

---Brent

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