Monday, July 25, 2005

Chris LeDoux

It's strange how some things can effect you. When I used to cover rodeo a few years back, I got into listening to Chris LeDoux. His music tapped into the spirit of the people in the sport and always got me fired up for a weekend of dust, dirt and "cowboy up" calls.

Whether I was cresting the last hill before pulling into Pendleton for the wild times of the Pendleton Round Up, knocking off the last long miles to Yakima for the Circuit Finals, or just rolling up to "The Biggest Little Show in the West" in Sisters... one constant was Chris LeDoux blasting on my stereo. It was always a good feeling when I pulled up to the back gate that served as the competitors' entrance in my battered, once-red Chevy pickup and got a knowing nod from the gate guard when he heard "Hooked On An Eight Second Ride" and caught a glimpse of my PRCA sticker in the window.

It's not only the rough-and-tumble rodeo songs that bring back memories either. Chris LeDoux's sappy songs still make me long for the innocent, yet heartfelt, romance he talks about in them. "Look At You Girl" and "County Fair" still take me back and remind of the way I used to feel back then...

Back in January of 1997, I finally got to see Chris LeDoux in concert. He played at a small arena in Prineville, Oregon. What better way to see a cowboy rocker than standing in the middle of a rodeo arena. I was with Michelle, a girl that I had dragged away from season tickets for the Portland Symphony straight to the grit of the rodeo world. She loved it, and so did I. The concert didn't disappoint. Chris rocked and crooned and rode a machanical bull on stage while singing... Stepping out into the cold, high-desert air afterwards we were sweaty and smiling. What more can you ask for?

I've been burning CDs to my computer and smiled when I came across my dust-covered Chris LeDoux discs. Just like that, the memories were all there.

Last night, I was talking to a friend and asked him if he liked Chris LeDoux. As we talked, he said that he thought he had heard that Chris LeDoux had died recently. I looked it up on the 'net and found it was true. Chris LeDoux died back in March of this year. I didn't know him, but I welled up with tears anyway. For me, he was a quiet hero, but a hero after all and now I'm sad that he's gone. Where ever you are now... thank you Chris LeDoux.


Laurie said...

I have the same reaction to Chris LeDoux. Just seeing the title "Look at you girl" brought me back to five years ago, driving around in my car with my then-fiancee, when he popped in a Chris LeDoux CD and had me listen to that very song. He told me that that's how he feels about me. It made me tear up then, and it makes me tear up now. I'm glad you posted about this. :)

Shawn said...

I never would have guessed that you had a bit of country girl in you... I'm pretty much a sap for sappy songs.