Chris LeDoux

Chris LeDoux / Cowgirl Magazine

A rodeo champion and bronze sculptor turned successful independent country artist, Chris LeDoux marked his name in music by writing countless songs about rodeo life. He recorded a total of 36 albums which have sold more than six million units in the United States.

For his distinct singing and songwriting skills, he received platinum album certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also, he was honored with the Academy of Country Music Music Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and was nominated for a Grammy Award. He was the only artist ever to both participate and perform at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

LeDoux was born from a French descent on his father’s side. Having a dad who worked for the Air Force, they usually moved around from one town to another. At the age of 13, he was a junior rodeo champion. He continued leveling up with his skills as he went to college. And in 1970, he was already considered a professional rodeo player, bagging awards from different competitions.

While traveling for the rodeo, LeDoux wanted to tell his stories through music. He was then inspired to write songs about rodeo lifestyle. No artist during that time focused on that subject. He started and concluded his musical career as an independent artist, releasing his first single “Bareback Jack” in 1972. His dad helped him to put up a recording company, American Cowboy Songs. In between his rodeo competitions, he sold his albums to different audiences.

Rodeo Competition - A man catches a bull.

Rodeo Competition / Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy

LeDoux laid low on horseback riding after suffering from injuries. He then focused on recording songs. By 1982, he sold over 250, 000 copies of self-released albums. Country superstar Garth Brooks claimed he was a long-time fan of the rodeo singer. The two collaborated for “ Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy,” which was co-written by Brooks himself.

Released in 1991, the single landed on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, and hit number five on the Canadian Country Tracks chart. Also, the album of the same name went gold. LeDoux continued to record and release until the 2000s. He, unfortunately, battled with a liver illness and had to undergo a transplant. In 2004, he released his final album Horsepower. He died of complications from liver cancer on March 2005, at the young age of 56.

Chris LeDoux may have passed away too soon, but his music will never fade away.

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