Trevor Brazile and “Kobe” Slam Dunk ARHFA Sun Circuit Heading Futurity
Trevor Brazile and Step N Small Town win ARHFA Sun Circuit Open Heading just weeks after Royal Crown Roping Futurity success.
Trevor Brazile and Step N Small Town turn a steer at the ARHFA futurity.
Trevor Brazile and Step N Small Town win their second futurity in less than a month together at the ARHFA Sun Circuit. Photo by Elite Equine Promotions/Kenzie Mayer

Trevor Brazile bags his second futurity win in less than a month on gelding Step N Small Town at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association Sun Circuit Futurity Open Heading Saturday, March 4, 2023, winning $13,095.

Although Brazile and Step N Small Town, called “Kobe,” have only been together for about five months, Brazile’s confidence in him continues to grow.

“I am probably a touch overconfident on that horse just because I have so much faith in him,” Brazile said. “There is such peace of mind to know that you have the same horse away from home that you have at home.”

The victory comes on the heels of a February win at the Royal Crown Futurity in Buckeye, where Brazile and Kobe won both the All-Ages and 6-&-Under Heading, gathering more than $16,000 in earnings.  

Returning to Arizona for more fun in March, Brazile and Kobe marked a 225.59 in the first go, a 227 in the second go and a 229.80 in the third go to leave him sitting third going into the short round.

“I didn’t do my job well enough to be high call going into the short round,” Brazile said. “[Luckily] He got stronger as the day went on, and my short round run was my best of the day.”

Kobe came through, scoring a hefty 234.26 to put them over the top with a 916.65 total. Their $11,845 purse was sweetened with a $1,250 bonus sponsored by DT Horses, too. With the win, Kobe’s lifetime earnings stand at $42,005.  

“My mindset is horse specific, and we took nine head of horses out there,” Brazile said, explaining his perceived underperformance on Kobe. “You need to know how each one needs to be ridden to their strengths, and sometimes you get in the groove of riding horses and roping and not playing to their strengths enough.”

Step N Small Town Pedigree

Standing at 15.3 hands and heading towards 1,300 pounds, gelding Kobe’s stature bears a resemblance to 6-foot-6- basketball player Kobe Bryant.

“To have a horse that is that durable yet can move with some class is a unique find,” Brazile said. “He gets better as the day goes on at these events too, which gives a warm and fuzzy feeling this early in the year.”

Trained by Canadian Vaughn Warken and later Kiel Wilson, Brazile took a chance on Kobe in October 2022, knowing he’d been in good hands.

“Luckily, I guessed right and everything I thought he needed worked and he’s never gone backwards,” Brazile said. “Everything I’ve showed him, he’s taken with confidence. There have been certain parts of the run like in the box, the corner and facing I’ve been tuning on.”

Kobe is sweet, too, and has become the horse of choice for visitors to ride at the Relentless Remuda in Decatur, Texas.

 “He’s fundamentally correct in the way he rides and he’s gentle to boot,” Brazile said.

Futurities Build Strong Foundations

With Brazile’s further investment — and success — in roping futurities, the rodeo veteran is championing the futurity system as the bones the roping industry can build upon.

“These [futurity] guys are conscious of how they’re riding and how they’re exposing these horses away from home, and I know it’s helped our program,” Brazile said. “It’s a better seasoning process.”

The spacing between events is helpful for the schooling process too, letting horses that may have come apart to go home and gain confidence again. According to Brazile, the Royal Crown in Buckeye and ARHFA Sun Circuit are the two closest events at three weeks apart.

“These things are such clean, pure outings for these horses and guys ride a lot different when they’re being judged versus time only,” Brazile said. “That’s what ultimately will make the best horses in the end.”

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