Trevor Brazile wins all-around title to cap emotional week at National Finals Rodeo

Trevor Brazile competes in the tie-down roping event during the 2015 National Finals Rodeo Trevor Brazile competes in the tie-down roping event during the 2015 National Finals Rodeo Photo by John Locher AP
December 15, 2018

At the beginning of the 60th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Trevor Brazile, the sport’s winningest cowboy, announced he will enter into semiretirement.

When the Decatur cowboy’s backed into the box to compete in the 10th and closing round of the NFR before 17,140 in attendance on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, there was a lot of sentiment because it might have been Brazile’s last time to throw his rope at the sport’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.
Brazile didn’t disappoint. The legendary cowboy turned in a clutch tie-down roping round winning time of 7.2 seconds en route to lassoing a record 14th world all-around title.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Brazile said. “This is icing on the cake.”
Other 2018 world champions were bareback rider Tim O’Connell, steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack, team ropers Clay Smith and Paul Eaves, saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell, tie-down roper Caleb Smidt, barrel racer Hailey Kinsel, and bull rider Sage Kimzey.
All in all, Brazile, 42, who turned pro in 1996, has a record 24 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world titles, six more than Guy Allen who has 18 (all in steer roping). Brazile’s 24 gold buckles also are the most in multiple events, eight more than Jim Shoulders who won a then-record 16th world in 1959 at the inaugural National Finals at Dallas’ Fair Park Coliseum. Shoulders earned seven bull riding world titles, five all-around champions and four bareback riding buckles.
Brazile ranks No. 1 in PRCA world all-around titles at 14. Ty Murray of Stephenville (who competed in the late 1980s and 1990s) ranks No. 2 with seven. Larry Mahan (late 1960s and early 1970s) and Tom Ferguson (late 1970s) rank No. 3-4 with six. The late Jim Shoulders (late 1940s and 1950s) ranks No. 5 with five.
Brazile entered Saturday’s 10th round ranked second in the 2018 world all-around title race with $298,026. Defending world all-around champion Tuf Cooper, Brazile’s brother-in-law who has residences in Weatherford and Decatur, was ranked No. 1 with $310,357. Utah cowboy Rhen Richard ranked third with $203,647.
Cooper failed to keep his lead over Brazile as the result of being disqualified in tie-down roping.
After winning the 10th round with the 7.2, finishing seventh in the tie-down roping average race with a 114.1 and earning $101,525 throughout the NFR, Brazile clinched the 2018 world all-around title with $335,679. Cooper, who pocketed $70,500 at the NFR, finished second with $310,357. Richard came in third in the 2018 all-around race with $274,723.

Brazile said he was grateful to clinch the world title after struggling throughout the 2018 NFR.

“I hadn’t roped well this week and ended up with three round wins,” Brazile said. “But I also ended with three two loops [catching his calf on a second throw after missing the first one, which resulted in a sluggish time], and that’s the most I’ve ever had.”
After sputtering in previous rounds, Brazile said he was thankful that he entered Round 10 with a chance to win the all-around.
“I’m just thankful for second chances,” he said. “I’m a living testimony that hard works pays off. There are more guys with natural talent out there. I will be the first to admit it. For everybody who is thinking about being a champion in their field they need to know hard work pays off. It will surpass everything in the end.”
In team roping, Smith and Eaves clinched the gold buckle after finishing third in the 10th round with a 4.4. The duo also finished third in the average race with an aggregate time of 34.5 on eight qualified runs on 10 rounds.
After the last steer was roped Smith clinched the heading title with $289,921. Kaleb Driggers finished second with $272,464.
In the heeling race, Eaves clinched the title after earning $289,921. Junior Nogueira, a Brazilian who lives in Burleson, finished second with $273,448.
Eaves, who clinched a first gold buckle, has residences in Millsap in Parker County and in Lonedell, Mo. Smith is from Broken Bow, Okla.
After clinching the title, Eaves was filled with emotion.
“It’s what we’ve wanted since we were young,” Eaves said. “It’s unbelievable. I can hardly say, really.”
Kinsel, who clinched her first Women’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association barrel racing world title on her horse named Sister, is from Cotulla in South Texas. She finished No. 1 with $350,669 after earning $157,865 at the NFR. Jessica Routier finished second in the world race with $251,704 after earning $153,000 at the Las Vegas championships.
In tie-down roping, Smidt, who is from Bellville, snared his second world title. He also earned a world championship in 2015.
At the 2018 NFR, Smidt won the NFR average title with an 83.7 on 10 runs after tying for sixth in the 10th round with an 8.1. Smidt earned $142,846 throughout the NFR and finished No. 1 in the world title race with $232,817. Cooper finished second with $205,268.

By Brett Hoffman Special to the Star-Telegram