Trevor Brazile smiled from ear to ear, pumped his fist to the crowd and walked out of the Thomas & Mack Center arena with his second Triple Crown in four years. The Decatur, Texas, cowboy won the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo tie-down roping average and finished second with partner Patrick Smith in the team roping average to secure world titles in both events to go along with his record eighth all-around crown, which he clinched in Round 2.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 17,683, Brazile won his first tie-down roping average and first team roping gold buckle en route to becoming just the third cowboy in PRCA history to become a multiple Triple Crown winner. He joined ProRodeo Hall of Famers Jim Shoulders (1956-58) and Everett Bowman (1935, 1937) with that distinction and became the first contestant in ProRodeo history to earn $500,000 in a single season with his $507,921.
“It means so much to me, because I think everything has got so specialized,” said Brazile, who now has a total of 14 world titles. “Nobody shows up and does three events on the same horse anymore, because it’s so competitive. That’s why I work my tail off every year, because of the respect I have for my competition. I don’t take these championships lightly, because I know how tough the field was. I’ve been blessed.”
Brazile joined Bowman as the only cowboys to win Triple Crowns with two different event combinations, as his first trifecta came in the all-around, tie-down roping and steer roping four years ago. Brazile pocketed $211,509 at the Wrangler NFR, a PRCA record for the most money won at a single rodeo, and far more than the previous record of $149,099 he set in 2008. Because of those earnings, Brazile won the Wrangler NFR’s all-around title and also earned the inaugural Ram Top Gun Award – which included the keys to a 2011 Ram 3500.
Brazile and Smith, the 2005 world champion heeler, won the team roping world championship ahead of Clay Tryan and Travis Graves. They had a 7.5-second run in Round 10 and placed in eight of 10 rounds in Las Vegas on their way to the world titles.
Brazile and Smith earned a whopping $120,419 at the Finals to become the first team ropers to eclipse the $200,000 in season earnings and jump from eighth to first in the PRCA World Standings. Brazile finished with $201,392, with Tryan in second with $184,739. Smith tallied $202,189, while Graves was second with $185,784.
“When I won the team roping, that was something they weren’t expecting me to do at all,” said Brazile, who did not lead the heading standings during the season until the end of Round 10. “Then that put even more pressure on me in the calf roping; I’d already done it where they didn’t expect me to, I sure couldn’t screw it up where they thought it was a lay-up.”
Their money totals broke the previous team roping single-season earnings record of $189,568 set by Matt Sherwood and Randon Adams in 2008.
“What a difference a year makes,” Smith said. “Last year was a humbling experience. We came out here third in the world last year, had a great chance at a title and left here with $2,700. This year, we came out here eighth without really any chance and ended up winning the world title. It was an exciting and fun week, and I’m grateful to be standing here.”
Luke Brown and Martin Lucero won the Wrangler NFR average with a 65.5-second 10-head total and climbed to third in the world after finishing as the only team with 10 qualified runs. Chad Masters and Jade Corkill won Round 10 with a 3.9-second run, seven-tenths of a second ahead of Keven Daniel and Caleb Twisselman.
In the tie-down roping, Brazile finished with $233,827 to claim his third gold buckle in that event in four years (2007, 2009), with his brother-in-law, Tuf Cooper, in second with $203,968. Brazile’s Wrangler NFR average crown came after he won one round and placed in at total of four rounds to finish with a 10-head time of 88.6 seconds. Cooper, who won Round 10 with a rodeo-best 6.9-second run, was second in the average with a 96.7-second total.
Cooper won an event-best $96,599 in Las Vegas and finished second to Brazile in the PRCA World Standings for the second consecutive year.
Bareback rider Bobby Mote, who came into this year’s Wrangler NFR in fifth place in the PRCA World Standings, won his fourth world title after finishing second in the average behind Justin McDaniel. Mote, of Culver, Ore., won two rounds and placed in seven en route to $115,099 in Wrangler NFR earnings and another gold buckle with a $204,484 total for the season.
Mote needed only to have a qualified score in Round 10 to clinch the title, and he finished fifth with an 85-pointer on Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Ship. McDaniel, the 2008 world champion, won the average with a 10-head total of 836.5 points, five points better than Mote’s total.
“My goal was obviously to win a world title, but it was pretty far-fetched coming into this,” Mote said. “Ryan (Gray) got hurt, and that opened the door. I hate to take advantage of his misfortune, but it was an opportunity, and things started coming around for me. I had a game plan to just get a good spur-out and make a good ride (in the final round), and here I am.”
Kelly Timberman, the 2004 world champion, won Round 10 with an 88.5-point ride on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Deuces Night, one point better than Will Lowe.
Another cowboy who found his way back to the world champions’ stage was steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch, who won his first world title in 2006. Gorsuch, of Gering , Neb. , tied Billy Bugenig for the Wrangler NFR average title on his way to his second gold buckle.
He and Bugenig each took home $40,673 for the average split, and Gorsuch’s $93,774 in Las Vegas earnings propelled him from third to first place in the final PRCA World Standings. Gorsuch – who won one round and placed in a total of six rounds – finished the season with $186,477, while Canada ’s Curtis Cassidy was second with $166,775.
“I went at it every night, and it felt great,” said Gorsuch, who also won the Wrangler NFR average in 2006. “I did everything I could do. My hazer, Del Kraupie, my best friend, did great all week long. That new horse, Pump Jack, that’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden. He fits me really well. It’s really a blessing.”
Cassidy won Round 10 on his legendary horse, Willy – the 2008 AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, who was making his final run of his legendary career – to edge Trevor Knowles for the runner-up spot to the world title with a 3.7-second run. Kyle Hughes was second in 3.8 seconds.
Cody Wright won the head-to-head battle against Wade Sundell to earn his second saddle bronc riding gold buckle. He spurred Harry Vold Rodeo’s Painted Valley – the 2010 PRCA Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year – for 87 points to finish second in the round, win the Wrangler NFR average with a record 847 points and edge Sundell in the final PRCA World Standings. Wright finished the year with $247,579, with Sundell in second with $224,673.
Sundell, who battled Wright for 10 days, scored 81 points on Franklin Rodeo’s Blue Too and finished second in the average with 842.5 points. They both finished far ahead of Rod Hay’s previous Wrangler NFR average record of 826 points on 10 head set in 2007.
“This one might feel better than my first one, to be honest,” said Wright, who set a saddle bronc riding record for Wrangler NFR earnings with $148,287. “I wanted to do one more to show people that it wasn’t just luck. Hopefully, I can win more than two. I think three would feel even better, so we’re going to keep going. Wade (Sundell) rode awesome. It made it fun, but also nerve-racking, and I think my family was probably more nervous than I was.”
Wright won three rounds and placed in eight overall, while Sundell won one round and placed in eight of 10 rounds.
Heith DeMoss won Round 10 with an 87.5-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Lunitic Fringe.
J.W. Harris became the first bull rider since Don Gay (1979-81) to win three consecutive world championships during Round 9 after clinching the Wrangler NFR average. In Round 10, Harris rode Silverado Rodeos’ Black Mamba for 86 points, good enough for fourth place in the round and an eight-head average total of 714 points.
That total was the most since Adriano Moraes had 724 points on nine head in 1996, and Harris was the first bull rider to cover eight bulls at the Wrangler NFR since B.J. Schumacher did it in 2006.
“I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet,” Harris said. “I got on some really good bulls, and that’s half the battle. I just kept going out there and doing what I was supposed to do and didn’t celebrate a round win too much. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
Harris’ final-round ride pushed his total season earnings to $246,541, with Wesley Silcox, the 2007 world champion, finishing third in the Wrangler NFR average and second in the world with $215,349. Ardie Maier won the round with a 91.5-point ride on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Scent Loc, while Tyler Smith was second with a 90-pointer.
Sherry Cervi clinched her third world championship in Round 9 and finished second in the Wrangler NFR average to finish the season with $299,894 in season earnings. Cervi won three rounds and placed in a total of seven.
“This season’s been outstanding, I can’t even explain it,” said Cervi, who won $120,042 in Las Vegas this year. “I had momentum going into this year from the Finals last year, and it kept going through the year. My horse (Stingray) has worked outstanding, and I’m very grateful for her. She’s a superstar.”
Jill Moody won the Wrangler NFR average with a record 10-run total time of 138.26 seconds, earning an event-best $133,035 to finish second in the world behind Cervi with $219,686. Her total time broke the previous mark of 138.93 seconds from 1986, the oldest Wrangler NFR average record in the books.