If you’re privy to the rodeo scene, chances are you’ve heard of the infamous Red Rock. But, do you know the whole story? It’s definitely worth a read as it’s a big part of Tehama County’s claim to fame.
Red Rock was born in 1976 at the Burnt River Ranch in Burns, Oregon. Orphaned as a small calf, he was raised in the family’s backyard by the owner’s milk cow. At two years of age, Red Rock was purchased by local stock contractor Mert Hunking from Sisters, Oregon. He immediately noticed that Red Rock was smarter than the typical bull. Somehow this savvy animal could sense what a bull rider would do and would turn the opposite way, quickly throwing cowboys.
In 1984, Hunking contacted John Growney of the Growney Brothers Rodeo Company about Red Rock’s potential sale. Although there were many offers for this special bull, Growney and partner, Don Kish, had a reputation for outstanding livestock care. The choice was a no-brainer.
Over the years, this ProRodeo Hall of Fame bucking bull was the real deal in the round-up world. This fierce competitor competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and bucked off more than 300 consecutive riders to maintain an unprecedented undefeated status in the mid-80s. However, Red Rock is most famous for his connection with bull riding icon Lane Frost, and their matchup called the Challenge of Champions. Red Rock was brought out of retirement to compete against Frost in seven showdowns at various rodeos in the West. Lane rode him to the eight-second whistle four of the seven matches.
Upon Red Rock’s retirement, he returned to the Growney Ranch. John continued to let fans visit the famous bull as he was a friendly and gentle giant outside of the arena. Sadly, Red Rock suffered a stroke at the age of 18. He was buried under a grand old oak tree at the Growney Ranch.