In 1996, a Texas kid named Trevor Brazile was breaking in steers for Jimmy Smith, of Denton’s Smith Brothers Arena, any time Smith got freshies to rope.
Sometimes it was 10, sometimes 100—it didn’t matter, because Brazile didn’t have an arena of his own and he was always hungry to rope. Brazile had joined the PRCA that year, and entered his first rodeo: Texas’ West of the Pecos Rodeo.
“I didn’t know anything about anything, but I entered it because it had team roping, steer roping, and calf roping,’ Brazile said. “I did well, filled my permit, and won the all-around there. So the next thing I was going to enter was Pendleton, Oregon. Now I don’t know if you could have entered it on your permit, but in my mind, that was the next rodeo. I ‘accidentally’ let the steers out in the pasture, because my dad would have thought it would have been a really bad idea to practice on the grass.”
Brazile was in hot pursuit when one steer ducked off toward a tank, and about the time he stood up to rope him, the steer ducked again and his horse dropped his shoulder, and they pancaked there in that pasture.
“I can remember it like it was yesterday. We were sliding. I destroyed my ankle. I got up and I knew something was wrong. Me and my buddy were the only ones there. We were sticking to the story that the steers got out, and he didn’t even have his drivers license but he took me to the hospital and they told me nothing was broke, I was fine. For two weeks, I sat around and it never got better, never got better. I go to Tandy, and two ankle surgeries later, I was in a walking cast when they called me to ask if I could go to the Timed Event.”
So in the spring of 1997, 10 days before the Lazy E Arena’s Timed Event Championship, someone dropped out, and Jimmy Smith, who had watched Brazile do all five events while breaking in fresh cattle at his arena, recommended the kid who’d entered one PRCA rodeo and was still in a walking cast.
“He told them, ‘I’ve got a kid who can do it,’ and they just believed him,” Brazile said.
AG Myers, who was running the Lazy E at the time, called Brazile, who went to his dad Jimmy for advice.
“I wasn’t ready but I didn’t want to not do it because I thought I’d never get the opportunity again. My dad said they might never call again, so I better do it. I got cleared to take off that walking cast the week before the Timed Event.”
With a taped ankle full of pins, Brazile won second by 1.2 seconds behind South Dakota legend Paul Tierney, at that first Timed Event, worth $25,000. That windfall helped him stay out on the road and learn to rodeo, and the next year he'd win the team roping at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo heeling for JP Wickett and the Texas Circuit Steer Roping title.
Since then, he’s won almost $1 million in Cinch Timed Event Championship earnings alone, with seven titles under his belt. His last win came in 2015.