In 2006, Trevor Brazile won his fourth Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association all-around title setting records in the rodeo arena in tie-down roping, steer roping and team roping. He won $329,923 to set a new PRCA all-around earnings record at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The performance set Brazile on the path to becoming one of the most dominant timed-event hands in rodeo history.
Trevor Brazile remembered.
He remembered every time he climbed aboard his horses in the practice pen, sweat leaving rivers on his face as he pushed to make himself better.
Brazile would think about it during those long drives down lonely stretches of highway. Brazile's mind would dip back to the pain he felt in December of 2005, when a fourth consecutive PRCA world all-around title slipped through his strong hands.
"It hurt. That's really the only way to say it," said Brazile of watching Ryan Jarrett run off with the world all-around title that had belonged to Brazile the previous three years. "You're only as good as your last competition. For three years, I had great success. Last year, it slipped away."
Brazile put all his efforts into the practice pen, looking for any edge that would make the difference. He even sold a burgeoning horse business to put his full attention to rodeo.
"I worked on areas where I needed improvement," Brazile said. "I know in my mind, there are things I can be better at."
Brazile threw a loop around the world all-around title in February of 2006 and never let go. Brazile wrapped up more than his fourth world all-around title in five years, he also won his first single event world title-steer roping-and set the single-season earnings mark. He finished third in the final world tie-down roping standings and 14th for team roping headers.
"It's been an outstanding year," said the 30-year-old Decatur, Texas, superstar.
"The best thing is the comeback," said Brazile. "I don't care who you are, after something like last year, you have doubts. You have to work harder to overcome them and that made it a lot more fun."
Brazile won all-around titles at a dozen rodeos, won the tie-down roping at 11 and team roping at eight during the regular season.
His phenomenal year started with a win at the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros at Tucson, Ariz., in February. That just lit the match for a torrid March where he separated himself from the rest of the all-around contenders with big wins at Austin, Texas, and RodeoHouston. He padded his totals with $24,000 won during the Fourth of July run.
"That sure gives you confidence," Brazile said of his March. "You never know when you're going to draw like that and you have to be on you're A game when it happens. I was lucky enough to capitalize on it."
But Brazile's assault on the record books was slowed by a sports hernia he suffered at the Pendleton (Ore.) Round-Up in September. He still managed to earn $68,828-$32,560 in team roping and $31,268 in tie-down roping-during the 10 performances in Las Vegas.
"I was fortunate enough to be healthy to get it done," he said of his titles.
Brazile rode his horse Odie for the first round of tie-down roping but went to Texaco, his regular ride for most of 2006. "Texaco is very powerful and I wasn't planning on using him when I wasn't 100 percent sound," Brazile said. "But I figured it was worth the pain to get him back."
Sic 'Em was his team roping heading horse the entire NFR. "If I work, then it's all easy," Brazile said. "The horses did their part. They are not the weak link.
"I had a sub-par Finals but I'm not going to turn my nose up at it. The charter planes, the long drives, all the work, it was all worth it. It feels good that all that work was not in vain."
Brazile was still contemplating surgery for the sports hernia before competing in 2007.
"I've gotten a couple of opinions. The second doctor doesn't think I need surgery.
"That's why you get second opinions. You go with the one with less pain," he said with a big smile.