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Music To His Ears

Sam Mustari
July 04, 2004

One glance at Beau LeDoux's CD collection in his pickup truck and you start to wonder where his loyalties lie.

No "Horsepower." Not even a glimpse of "The Buffalo Grass," or anything that even sounds like "Rodeo Moon."

Instead, LeDoux prefers to listen to God Smack and Black Label Society.

"Pretty hard metal," said LeDoux, the 21-year-old son of famous country and western singer Chris LeDoux.

The younger LeDoux made a cameo appearance at the Stampede on Saturday afternoon, competing in the bareback bronc riding competition, but failed to stay on his ride.

His dad will entertain Stampede fans tonight in a concert at Island Grove Arena as the featured performer.

Beau will be in Cody, Wyo., trying his luck at another rodeo, but he's sure his dad won't pick any tune he hasn't heard, at least once.

"It's pretty rare that I compete in a rodeo in the same town he's performing in," Beau said. "The only two places are probably Greeley and Cheyenne."

Shying away from any "Father Knows Best" analogies, Beau has heard it all in more ways than one when it comes to his famous dad.

Chris LeDoux won the world bareback riding title in 1976, long before Beau was even born.

"I think he retired about the time I was 2," Beau said. "I really don't remember watching him ride.

"He always tells me about it, though. I've heard everything. He gives me pointers on riding, and wants to make sure that we get it right."

Beau has traveled with his dad to performances, but it's about the only time he hears his music.

"There's a few of his CDs in my truck, but there towards the back of the pack," Beau joked. "I couldn't ride around and not have any of them.

"I just don't like country music that much. I like the old stuff like Garth Brooks used to do because he sings about things that have actually happened to him. What those guys sing today is bad. They haven't experienced any of that. My dad also sings about what he's lived."

Chris used to travel with his rigging gear and guitar, often playing after the rodeo and selling self-produced tapes.

His latest CD -- "Horsepower" -- features a lot of lyrics about rodeo.

Beau's music talents hit the skids when he was a youngster, spending seven years playing the fiddle.

"My mom (Peggy) made me play that darn fiddle, and I hated every minute of it."

Hating it or not, Beau hasn't abandoned the instrument.

"Oh," he said, "I can still play a mean 'Turkey in the Straw.' But I really don't have any music talent."

Dad sure does. He's recorded 36 albums.

Chris also received a liver transplant in 2002. His body rejected the first organ that was donated, and good friend Garth Brooks offered part of his own liver, bu was turned down because it was too small.

The surgery hasn't slowed Chris, who may be hitting his peak in the recording business, and still stays active in operating the family's cattle ranch in Kaycee, Wyo.

"He's usually home for about two weeks at a time," Beau said. "We spend a lot of time together. Just the other day, we shingled" the outhouse.

"My dad loves to do irrigation work too," Beau said. "Most people don't, but he does."

Chris also likes to drive into the pasture and sing.

"He really doesn't sing around the house," Beau said. "It's usually when he's by himself in the pasture. That's in his truck. He doesn't ride the horse out there like Roy Rogers."

In Kaycee, which has a population of around 250, Chris and Beau are not the center of attention, which suits Beau just fine.

"Most people there knew my dad when he wasn't famous. In Kaycee, he's just anther local yokel."