ALL AROUND COWBOY
TREVOR BRAZILE CLINCHES HIS SIXTH ALL AROUND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE AT THE WNFR.
BY KELLIE CARR
The American Quarter Horse Journal, December 15, 2008 -- In his usual style, Decatur, Texas, all-around roper Trevor Brazile was all business at the 2008 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo onDecember 4-13 in Las Vegas. For the sixth time in seven years, Brazile wrapped up the all-around cowboy world championship, this time making it official after the sixth round of competition.
“I had cinched one before the WNFR was over in the past, and it’s an awesome feeling,” Brazile said after he heard the official word. “It’s awesome. It’s not the championships, it’s the guys who’ve been there who make them special, like Ty Murray, Larry Mahan and Tom Ferguson, and that says enough right there. That’s an awesome, awesome deal.”
Brazile also won the NFR all-around title, as the only cowboy competing in two events at this year’s NFR, and became the first Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association cowboy to earn more than $3 million. He won the team roping average title, roping with partner Patrick Smith, and finished sixth in the tie-down roping average. The cowboy, whose son, Treston, turned 1 just before the NFR, choked up as he walked onto the stage set up in the arena at the Thomas and Mack Center to accept his ninth gold buckle.
“I just want to thank the Lord, my family, my little boy, my sponsors and especially the fans,” Brazile said. “None of this would be possible without all of you.”
Tears were also flowing freely from the eyes of another world as Stran Smith of Childress, Texas, finally clinched his first gold buckle after taking the average title in the tie-down roping.
“Words can't even describe it,” Smith said, his voice cracking. “To win the average and win the world, and having it come down to the 10th calf is just one of those things. I had this exact same thing happen in 2004, and it came down to the 10th round. I won the round and ended up losing the championship by less than $2,000. I didn’t know if I’d ever have a chance to be this close again. What I want to say to people is, ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ I’m excited for my family, my wife and everybody who has been supporting me, backing me and praying for me. It’s an amazing thing.”
Steer wrestling champ Luke Branquinho of Los Alimos, California, won his second world championship after also winning the NFR average title, setting a record for earnings with $242,018. The win marked the first time a steer wrestling world champion has earned multiple world titles since Ote Berry won in 1990 and 1991.
“I couldn’t even tell you,” Branquinho explained after his win. “It’s kind of a relief, actually. I didn’t sleep very well last night, wondering what could happen. I had a good steer, and I knew I had a chance to win good money on him in the go-round, which would have taken care of the average. It’s a great honor. Watching this event growing up, it’s special to be able to have two championships, just like John W. Jones Jr. I looked up to him – just to be able to be in a category like that is amazing.”
The team roping world title came down to the wire during the last round of competition. But when 2006 champion header Matt Sherwood and his partner, heeler Randon Adams, roped their last steer in 4.6 seconds for fourth in the round and the average, they knew they’d won the coveted gold buckles. Sherwood of Pima, Arizona, finished ahead of Brazile, while Adams, of Logandale, Nevada, finished ahead of Jade Corkill, who earned $166,673 roping with Luke Brown.
“It’s unbelievable,” Sherwood said. “To be here among the greatest ropers in the world and be crowned the world champion is truly unbelievable. There were several different scenarios that could have played out. We knew that if we just made a smooth run on the last steer, we would win the championship.”
Barrel racer Lindsay Sears has been heating up the standings all year, and she made the most of her trip to Vegas, ending up on the stage at the South Point five times during the 10 rounds and clinching the world title after Round 8. Her amazing run set a season earnings record, as she won $323,570 to become the sport’s first $300,000 barrel racer. Sears of Nanton, Alberta, also became the first Canadian to take home the gold buckle in barrel racing, while her horse, Sugar Moon Express, aka “Martha,” earned the AQHA-PRCA horse of the year title in barrel racing..
“I’m very honored and very proud to be Canadian today,” Sears said. “It’s been such a surreal year this year, it’s unbelievable. I'm so thankful that I have such an awesome horse. Martha’s really the world champion. She deserves it, and I’m so proud of her.”
In the bull riding, J.W. Harris’ consistency paid off in a big way. Harris rode six bulls to win the average with 507 points, edging out the season-long leader Chance Smart. Harris won $96,364 at the NFR for a total of $208,437 for the season.
Harris of May, Texas, was on top of the world after winning.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” Harris said. “It’s my childhood dream, and that’s what I’ve worked for my whole life. To finally actually get the buckle given to me, it’s pretty nice.”
In the bareback riding, Justin McDaniel captured his first world title after setting a WNFR record for scoring 859 point on 10 of the rankest horses in the world. McDaniel, of Porum Oklahoma was making his second appearance at the NFR, and came from 10th place to earn his gold buckle.
Cody Wright wrapped up his first world title in the saddle bronc riding before the event was over. Wright made the gold buckle his in Round 9, after five-time champ Billy Etbauer bucked off. Both cowboys were bucked off in the 10th performance, but Wright still finished with $247,416 on the season. Wright, a father of four boys with a girl on the way, was more than happy to keep the gold buckle for himself, despite the four boys fighting to get their hands on it.
“I don’t know if it has totally sunk in,” said Wright of Milford, Utah. “Maybe tonight, it will sink in since it’s all over. My voicemail filled up right away. Everybody was really excited.”