Friday, March 11, 2011
Decatur roper Trevor Brazile is a rodeo icon
Brazile is focusing on winning a record ninth world all-around title this summer.
For people who know rodeo, Trevor Brazile is an icon. Brazile has won more prize money than any other cowboy ever. As his career has grown, his fan base has multiplied.
“I’m proud to be a fan of Trevor,” said Carolyn Jones of Grand Saline, Texas, who was reached through Trevor Brazile’s official Facebook fan page.
“He is a wonderful athlete, roper, and human being.”
Brazile, 34, won his eighth All-Around World Championship title at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, becoming the sport’s first $3 million athlete. Bull rider Ty Murray of Stephenville, Texas held the record for most all-around titles until Brazile broke it. According to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the all-around title is given annually to a competitor who earns the most money that year and competes in more than one event.
Brazile’s win placed him in a category with Hall of Famers Ty Murray, Larry Mahan, and Roy Cooper. He specializes in three events—tie-down roping, steer roping, and team roping.
“The part that motivates me the most is winning,” said Brazile, in a recent interview at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
The ProRodeo Sports News reported Jan. 21 that Brazile went into the Wrangler NFR with a record $296,411 and came out with $500,000. The win is especially impressive considering that Brazile was still recovering from an elbow injury that kept him from practicing or competing for several months before the NFR. But that’s nothing new; he said he’s competed with injuries like that on a lot of other occasions throughout the year.
“He’s such a winner that a lot of people don’t notice when he’s not winning,” said Patrick Smith, who has been Brazile’s partner in team roping for five years. “Even if he doesn’t win he keeps a good attitude, and strives to get better.”
Brazile was in Fort Worth for the rodeo in early February and was honored for representing the sport well this year. Sporting a button-down white shirt tucked into his Wrangler boot-cut jeans, he received the Lane Frost Award, named after the former world bull-riding champion who died from a rodeo accident in 1989. Judging from the audience’s standing ovation, he has had a major impact on the sport as well as his fans.
“He is a Christian who is very dedicated to what he does, and is an inspiration to anyone who dares to dream,” said Jones, a longtime rodeo fan.
Brazile has been winning fast across the ProRodeo world—winning nearly every major rodeo title in the U.S., not including his World Championship titles.
In 2002, as a rookie, he won his first all-around world championship. Four years later, he became the youngest PRCA member and the seventh competitor to cross the $2 million mark in winnings. In 2007, Brazile became the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 24 years by winning the all-around, tie-down roping, and steer roping gold buckles. He won his first back-to-back Triple Crown in 2009, and then broke his own season record by winning another back-to-back Triple Crown the following year.
“His work ethic differentiates Trevor from other top ropers because he works harder than any of them,” said Roy Cooper, 55, also known as “Super Looper” to the rodeo world. “His second year in professional rodeo I realized that he was going to be a part of the elite group.”
Cooper’s prediction became a reality when Brazile was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.
Brazile lives in Decatur, Texas with his wife Shada — Roy Cooper’s stepdaughter — and their two children. He met Shada at a rodeo, and they dated for six years before getting married in 2001. Now, they have a 3-year-old son, Treston, and a 10-month-old daughter, Stella Bell. Treston was born on December 1 and Stella Bell was born on April 1.
“Some of the other cowboys jokingly said, ‘Come on surely you can do something that’s not first,’” Brazile recalled with a chuckle.
“You know us,” he replied. “We had to induce because we couldn’t have either of them on the second.”
Shada, a former model for Wrangler, partnered with the brand to create a Western-inspired clothing line for infants and toddlers. The All-Around Baby collection by Wrangler — named in honor of Trevor Brazile’s all-around titles — debuted in fall 2009.
Brazile lives on a 65-acre ranch next to Cooper and his three sons — Clint, Tuf, and Clif — who are also tie-down roping champions. Brazile practices with the Cooper boys in the four arenas that they share, including one with custom outdoor arena lighting for them to rope at night. The San Antonio Express-News reported Feb. 12 that Tuf, 21, Clif, 23, and Clint, 29, became the first trio of brothers to qualify for the 2010 Wrangler NFR in tie-down roping.
“You’re only as good as the men you practice with and we’re always bringing each other to that next level,” said Brazile.
Brazile’s father, Jimmy, was a four-time steer roping national finalist and his mother, Glenda, was a former women’s rodeo competitor. He said his dad expected him to excel in more than one category; he wanted him to be an experienced tie-down roper, steer wrestler, and team roper. Brazile started roping when he was 2 years old, and began roping off a horse at 4.
“I brought my roping dummies and my horse to kindergarten,” Brazile said. “My school let me bring my horse so that I could practice when we went outside for recess.”
Marc Gallegos of Littleton, Colorado has watched Brazile compete in several rodeos, and was able to meet him for the first time at the 2009 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Gallegos asked Brazile to sign a program for his son Landon, who wants to compete in the rodeo when he grows up.
“He wrote the most heartfelt autograph on our program that my son Landon and I will cherish for a lifetime,” recalled Gallegos, who was reached on Brazile’s Facebook fan page.
Brazile is focusing on winning a record ninth world all-around title this summer — the win would make him the PRCA’s first $4 million cowboy.
According to the PRCA, he is $90,418 away.
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