I once thought former NASCAR driver Lake Speed had the best name in sports, for what he did. Lake Speed didn't win a lot of races, but I do recall one year when he finished second at the Daytona 500; afterward, he started crying and thanking God, even before he started thanking his sponsors.
There also was a pro bowler named Dale Strike.
If you consider politics fair game, then Sheldon Whitehouse, re-elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, isn't a bad name to have.
But these pale in comparison to the rodeo Bruised Heads.
Baseball has blessed us with the Moreheads, Dave and Seth. Basketball had the Whiteheads, Jerome and Luke.
There have been many plain Heads: Don Head, a goalie, played 38 games for the 1961-62 Boston Bruins; Ed Head, a pitcher, went 10-6 for the 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers; Luther Head, a guard, averaged 10.9 points for the 2006-07 Houston Rockets. Patrick Head designed Formula One racecars.
There have been redheads (Rusty Staub, Andy Dalton) and boneheads (John Rocker, John Daly) and Westheads (Paul) and Deadheads (Bill Walton) and Puddin' Heads (Willie Jones, who batted .258 over 15 big league seasons).
On Tuesday, I met three Bruised Heads: Wright, Clint and Pete.
Wright Bruised Head and Clint Bruised Head are brothers. They are competing in the 37th Indian National Finals Rodeo through Saturday at the South Point Equestrian Center. Pete Bruised Head is their father. Though Pete is in his 70s, he still rides in the senior rodeo.
Wright and Clint seemed like pretty good guys. Pete seemed sort of grumpy, but then Pete is in his 70s.
In addition to Pete, Wright and Clint Bruised Head, there is Cameron Bruised Head and Ivan Bruised Head and Alan Bruised Head and Henny Bruised Head and Sonny Bruised Head and Bill Bruised Head and Wynn Bruised Head and another Pete Bruised Head, grumpy Pete's dad.
Four generations of Bruised Heads. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, grandsons. Sisters and sisters-in-law. Lots of cousins. Lots of Bruised Heads from Stand Off, Alberta.
(The last time I saw this many bruised heads in one place, Johnny Tocco's Ringside Gym still was going strong. But those were the lowercase kind with the cauliflower ears.)
There can be no better name for a rodeo cowboy than Bruised Head. Ty Murray? Distant second. Donnie Gay? Your call.
The Bruised Heads are Blackfoot Indians, original residents of the Northern Plains. There are three Blackfoot bands in Canada and another in Montana. The Bruised Heads are Kainawa, usually referred to as Bloods; the other Canadian bands are the Siksika and the Peigan.
The Bruised Head brothers (there are five) said the three nations get along famously with the exception of during hockey season, when an occasional elbow might get thrown or a stick raised if the score is close.
(For some reason, I keep picturing Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown skating onto the ice during the pregame introductions in "Slap Shot" and throwing the finger at the Charlestown Chiefs.)
One of the INFR officials, a Peigan, told me Blackfoot sometimes are named for a seminal event that occurs at birth or shortly after. But Clint Bruised Head said the family surname has nothing to do with rodeo, or rodeo season, or falling off a ladder.
Clint, who lives in Oregon and is researching his family tree, said the Blackfoot were given names when the treaties were signed. Sometimes the records were hard to decipher. It is possible, he said, that his family name might be the result of nothing more dramatic than the White Man's poor penmanship.
There were a lot of names on Wednesday's day sheet that people named Smith and Jones - or even Smith and Wesson - might have considered unusual: Otys Little Mustache and Jay Many Grey Horses in steer wrestling; Roy Three Persons in saddle bronc; Clay Gun Shows in team roping; Roxanne Not Afraid in ladies breakaway.
But I'll bet if I were ever up in Stand Off, and tried to cash a check and were asked to present two forms of ID, they'd think my name was pretty unusual, too.
The longer I spoke with Clint Bruised Head and his brother Wright, the more I wanted to talk about their culture. I envisioned great plains and great chiefs, buffalo herds and buffalo hunts. And, yes, I will admit, a fair number of maidens with long, dark hair.
But Clint Bruised Head works in the construction and logging businesses in Oregon; Wright Bruised Head lives in Calgary, Alberta, pop. 1,096,833. The only Buffalo he sees is when the Sabres come to town.
"I probably would live somewhere else if I hadn't run out of gas there," says Wright Bruised Head, the rodeo cowboy with the perfect name for one - even if it might have been the result of a faulty quill pen, as his brother believes.
"As far as I can tell, it was supposed to be something else," Clint Bruised Head said with a telltale smile.
"Just another broken promise."
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.