Trevor Brazile is pro rodeo’s top cowboy.
On Tuesday night, Brazile, 39, clinched his 13th world all-around title, breaking his own record, after winning the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo’s sixth round of tie-down roping with an unusually fast time of 6.6 seconds at the Thomas & Mack Center.
It was his 10th straight all-around title. The NFR concludes its 10-day run Saturday.
In recent years, Brazile, who lives in Decatur, usually has clinched the all-around title before the NFR’s final performance. But that was not the case in 2005 when he let pro rodeo’s big belt buckle slip away.
Since 2002, Brazile has won the PRCA’s world all-around title every year but once. His only loss was 2005.
Brazile had been pro rodeo’s kingpin for the three previous years. But he allowed two cowboys to finish ahead of him in the 2005 year-end all-around standings. Since then, no one has gotten close to Brazile.
The all-around title is the sport’s top award. To win it, a competitor must finish the year with the most prize money competing in two or more events.
Brazile used 2005 as motivation to become a better competitor.
“I only got to see more potential out of me because of that, than had I won it,” Brazile said. “Looking back, you can take a positive from anything like that. I just tried to use it as fuel. I think it’s prolonged my career. It put a burn in my belly to want to make a statement.”
Longtime rodeo news columnist Ed Knocke of Bedford said Brazile has been relentless in his pursuit of world titles over the past decade.
“It’s like his hair is on fire,” Knocke said. “He’s just so straightforward and all he sees is winning. He’s one of those types of guys that if he doesn’t win, he feels like he’s failed himself.”
After losing the 2005 all-around race, Brazile adjusted his approach on competing.
“I really concentrated my efforts,” Brazile said. “From that point on, I quit riding a lot of young horses. I still ride quite a bit of horses, but not to the extent that I did. Then, as much of my day went toward riding young horses and colts as it did rodeoing. So, I started concentrating more on rodeoing and just on riding the horses I was going to be riding at the rodeos.”
Brazile travels extensively to rodeos across North America in a large motorhome with his wife, Shada, and their three young children. Shada Brazile qualified for the 2013 National Finals in barrel racing.
A big upset
In 2005, roper/steer wrestler Ryan Jarrett of Summerville, Ga., won the world all-around title after finishing the year with $263,665. Canadian Lee Graves finished second with $211,696. Brazile finished third with $197,400.
Remarkably, that was Jarrett’s first trip to the National Finals. He competed in tie-down roping and steer wrestling. He also won the average in tie-down roping, which meant he finished the 10-performance rodeo with the fastest aggregate time.
Brazile qualified for the NFR only in tie-down roping.
A decade later, Jarrett said it’s very rewarding to know he once finished ahead of Brazile in the all-around race.
“He is a special man,” Jarrett said of Brazile. “To have stepped in there and messed his streak of consecutive titles up, it means something for sure. It’s pretty hard to beat him. Trevor always has a good horse and he ropes correct.”
Since 2005, Jarrett has qualified for the National Finals seven times in only tie-down roping. He is competing at the NFR this week.
A record breaker
Brazile’s 13th all-around title victory puts him six ahead of Ty Murray of Stephenville, who won a then-record seventh world all-around title in 1998. Bucking stock rider Larry Mahan and roper/steer wrestler Tom Ferguson are tied for third, each having earned six all-around championships.
Brazile has earned a PRCA-record 23 world titles. Steer roper Guy Allen is next with 18. The late Jim Shoulders has 16.
In 2006, Brazile began winning single-event titles in addition to all-around championships. That year, he won the steer roping and all-around titles.
Overall, Brazile has won six world steer roping world championships (2006-2007, 2011 and 2013-2015). He also has three tie-down roping championships (2007, 2009-10) and one team roping heading title (2010).
Brazile, who turned pro in 1996, has a chance to become the first PRCA competitor to earn more than $6 million when the NFR concludes this weekend. He has qualified for the 2015 NFR in team roping and tie-down roping.
Brazile’s tie-down roping time of 6.6 on Tuesday was a tenth of a second shy of the NFR arena record set by world champion Cody Ohl in 2003.
At the 2015 NFR, Brazile doesn’t have much chance of winning a team roping title, but he still has a good shot at the tie-down roping title.
“The team roping hasn’t gone like I wanted it too, but the calf roping is starting to turn around,” he said, “The calf roping is the obvious one, but don’t think I’m not going to also try to win first in every [remaining] round of team roping.”