I needed help writing about the legacy of Trevor Brazile, after he announced Dec. 4, 2018, his retirement from full-time rodeo competition.
I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time putting what Trevor Brazile’s career has meant to me into words. I know he’s the GOAT, I know he’s humble, I know his life lessons have helped me a million times along the way, more times than I’ll probably ever know.
But I think it’s because of all of those things that I’ve taken him for granted. Our friendship has extended beyond the arena, and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (there isn’t much, I promise) of Mr. Relentless. And perhaps it’s his realness paired with his goodness, that you’ve undoubtedly heard about time and time again when his friends and fellow competitors speak of him, that has made him so special, yet so easy to take for granted. Of course he’s a 23-time world champ, he’s won everything there is to win and proved everything there is to prove. But to me, he’s usually the guy I call when I’ve got a horse-deal-gone-bad, need some career advice, or some parenting advice.
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So until I find better words for what I think of his career and his legacy, I’ll let some of the best in the industry tell you what they think Trevor Brazile has meant to each of them.
Patrick Smith: As somebody who probably spent as much time with him as anybody ever has, I saw the down side, the sides that not everybody gets to see. A lot of times people put on a front, but what he brought to the sport was the attitude of being a winner—I don’t know how to say it. He had the same attitude, win or lose, and had a real class to the way he handled the sport. He hated to lose as bad as anybody, but he controlled his emotions better. As many kids as he had looking up to him, he had so many opportunities to throw a fit. He said once that he refused to let what he loves and does for a living make him miserable at any time. Your priorities change, and what else does he have to prove? I’m humbled to be a part of such an amazing career, the most historic career there is. Anybody who doesn’t like Trevor, doesn’t know him. You can’t believe everything you see and hear, and I’m here to tell you he’s the real deal. When you’re around him, you don’t even realize you’re around the greatest cowboy in history. Not only because he’s only 5-foot-1. It’s because he didn’t carry any arrogance. I’ll miss the friendship side of it. He and I are partners in a business and our relationship will carry on. But the road times, and having him out there will be missed for sure. He was fun in and out of the arena, win or lose. There’s been a lot of teams win more than us, but I don’t know if there’s been one that had more fun.
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Lari Dee Guy: I don’t know how you explain him. When I look at him, he’s like my friend. He’s that little boy that was following me around at the junior rodeos. When I see him around people, or watch him perform, he’s my hero. In the sense of what he does, what he does for people, for the sport—when people watch him, the drive that he gives people is so real. How he carries himself, how he presents himself, as a world champion, and as the best that’s ever lived. He does nothing wrong to give people something not to look up to. Why he’s stepping away is huge, because for several more years, he could still be a world’s champion in anything. In any event. He is giving up the traveling, and all that, to spend time with his family and let them start doing their thing, and that’s so cool. He is giving up world titles to spend time with his family. A lot of people are too selfish to do that. I feel that he’s going to be able to, in our business, to benefit more in the training process instead of just the finishing process. He’s always been the one who did the finishing on our horses. Now he’s going to be able to do both. He loves to rodeo, and he’s going to go to the good ones, and people will still see him at the big rodeos. His influence will carry on in ways we can’t yet imagine.
Rich Skelton: Trevor Brazile is every part of the game. His horsemanship, his competitiveness, being able to work every event as good as he does—he doesn’t have a weak event. It has to do with his horses and the way he practices. It’s unbelievable. Everyone knows Trevor. I’ve done schools, and the kids that were 10 or 12 years old when I was winning my championships, they knew us. As you get a little older, they’re not as aware of you. You won’t see that for a while with Trevor. The thing about him, not to mention he’s the best, but he’s got so many events that kids look up to him across the board. It’s not just one event, his following is huge.
Derrick Begay: He hasn’t done one single thing he’s done that didn’t help the sport. He’s just an all-around guy at whatever—that’s why it’s so hard because there’s nothing you can take away from him. From his image, to his business to his lifestyle, you can’t do what he’s done, and live no better than the way he’s doing it. From not just winning, but from being the person that he is. He’s just a winner, no matter what, in rodeo or not rodeo. This past fall up there in the Northwest, the rumor was going around he was quitting and going to be done. And I wondered if it were true, so I wanted to ask him. I ran into him at the WestStar, and I asked him if he was quitting. He started laughing and grinning, and said “You’re kind of right and you’re kind of not.” I told him I was going to hang out with him more if he is going to disappear on us. He said he’s going to downsize, get rid of some horses, and ride colts. Hearing that rumor made me realize I almost took it all for granted. I wanted to pick his brain a little more—because I’ve never spent a ton of time with him. I wanted to learn more from him.