Rodeo’s power couple is shining in NFR spotlight

Posted Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Trevor and Shada Brazile are the power couple at this week’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He’s the world all-around champion who, on Tuesday night, broke the record for the most world titles (19) in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. She’s competing for the first time in barrel racing.

During each two-hour performance at the Thomas & Mack Center, Brazile begins by competing in team roping and tie-down roping. Then he catches up with Shada and offers support as she races in and out of the arena.

“It’s awesome,” Brazile said of competing alongside his wife. “She’s helped me my whole career, and she’s still helping me. It doesn’t matter how much we try to take responsibility off of her shoulders, she’s getting every last-minute thing done with the kids, handling tickets and pinning my back number on.”

Brazile’s back number is No. 1 because he entered the National Finals with the highest regular-season earnings among the field of 119 competitors. But he also entered the Las Vegas championships on the cusp of clinching the world all-around title and breaking the record for the most gold buckles.

Brazile, 37, entered the NFR, which concludes its 10-day run Saturday, with 18 world titles, as many as retired steer roper Guy Allen. But Brazile moved ahead of Allen when he mathematically clinched the all-around title during Tuesday’s performance.

Brazile, who turned pro in 1996, said he never had any idea his success would get to this point.

“When I came into this sport, I never thought Guy Allen’s record would be beat. When Guy Allen won his, 18th title, I said it would never be done,” Brazile said. “I watched him win his 16th and 17th world title to surpass Jim Shoulders and then he just kept winning.”

Brazile also kept on winning.

His span of 19 world titles began in 2002 when he clinched his first of a record 11 all-around buckles. He’s also won three tie-down roping gold buckles, four steer roping championships and a gold buckle in team roping heading.

His work ethic and success has inspired other competitors such as three-time world champion Tuf Cooper. Cooper is a half brother to Brazile’s wife, Shada, and Cooper lives in on a property adjacent to Brazile’s in Decatur.

“In this sport, talent will get you only so far, but with Trevor, it’s Trevor’s work ethic that sets him apart,” Cooper said. “I can remember when I was about 12 years old and I would leave the house for school at about 8 in the morning; and I would look out and see that Trevor had about 20 horses saddled and was roping. When you see that type of commitment, it rubs off on you.”

Another person Brazile has influenced is his wife. In past years, Shada has assisted him with the complex logistics of traveling the national circuit. But last year, she acquired a young horse named Dial It In, who was loaded with raw talent. Throughout 2012, she groomed the horse to compete on the national rodeo circuit in barrel racing.

“I didn’t know it was that important to Shada until she got the kids kind of raised up and then started wanting to compete hard,” Brazile said “So, I said ‘Go for it.’”

In February, Shada got her big break by winning the 2013 San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and a $12,445 check. Though the horse struggled with injuries during the summer, Shada and Dial It In rallied at the end of the season and qualified for the National Finals by finishing 13th in earnings. The top 15 qualify.

“I never have felt like I was in Trevor’s shadow,” Shada said. “I did it because I love the sport and I love to compete.”

During the Round 4 performance Sunday, Trevor and Shada each finished in the money at a National Finals performance for the first time. He was third in tie-down roping and she came in sixth among the barrel racers.

After she turned in a time 13.88 seconds, the TV cameras focused on Trevor, who stood at the end of the arena with a big smile and gave a thumbs up.

“She’s one of the most competitive people I know,” Brazile said. “Through adversity and ups and downs, she stays hooked and seems to thrive in those conditions. I’ve really enjoyed watching the way she handles situations. It’s made me a better competitor and person just watching the way she’s handled victory and defeat.”

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