Cowboy King Trevor Brazile is in a league of his own. Those 26 gold buckles and $7 million in career earnings say it all about this freshly inducted ProRodeo Hall of Famer. The winningest cowboy of all time rode away from the rigorous rodeo road after the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But we’re about to be treated to a rare Trevor rodeo sighting, because the 45-year-old living legend got a wild hair to enter up and will next week do battle in three events on the Pendleton Round-Up grass.
“I just love the atmosphere at Pendleton,” Trevor said of his why. “I like the way they treat contestants. If you have a back number, that’s like having a badge at most rodeos. They treat the cowboys like the stars of the show in Pendleton. That’s pretty cool, and how it should be.
“I was in Mexico on a family vacation when one of my buddies called and asked if I might want to go to Pendleton. My first response was, ‘Hell no, I don’t go to rodeos anymore.’ It might have been a few piña coladas that day that changed my mind. I really can’t find a better reason for entering Pendleton than that it sounded good at the time, and it’s a great rodeo.”
Brazile owns a record seven Pendleton Round-Up all-around championships, in addition to the 2015 Pendleton team roping title he and Patrick Smith co-own with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill in another of Trevor’s all-around crown years. Trevor also won the Pendleton tie-down roping title in 1999, and has placed—a lot—in all three events over the years.
He last entered Pendleton in 2019 on the occasion of being inducted into the Pendleton Round-Up Hall of Fame. That’s when he notched that seventh all-around championship. Trevor has twice retired the coveted Let ’er Buck all-around trophy for having his name etched on it three times (1999, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019).
“Mike Beers (1985, 1995 and 1997) and Cash Myers (2005, 2007 and 2008) both won the all-around three times and retired the trophy before me,” Trevor noted. “Mike’s trophy is really cool, because it has all the old names on it. I had to start over, because once someone retires one the slate it wiped clean, even if your name was on there twice.”
Trevor retired the last East Oregonian Let ’er Buck Trophy in 2019, then COVID canceled the 2020 Round-Up. Next big cowboy thing Stetson Wright won it last year. What a treat it’ll be to see those two go head-to-head and take on the field of Pendleton all-around contenders next week.
“I’m a trinket junkie, and when you win the all-around at Pendleton, it’s like winning the lottery in a small state,” Trevor smiled. “They have the best prizes, and they just keep bringing stuff out. I love it when prizes are indigenous to the area and you can’t get them anywhere else. It makes for more meaningful memorabilia. Last time I won it, I got a custom compound bow, a nice rifle, a gold necklace for my wife, an amazing saddle made by a local saddle maker with local silver on it, a Pendleton buckle, a dress buckle, hats, boots… My mom wears my 1999 Pendleton buckle. That’s one you can recognize from across the room.”
Pendleton is just Trevor’s second rodeo of the 2022 season. He team roped with Joseph Harrison in March. He’ll now Let ’er Buck in the tie-down, steer roping and heading for fellow Round-Up all-around champ Kyle Lockett (2003 and 2010) in the team roping.
“It’s a weird spot for me, for sure, not to be part of a (world championship) race,” Trevor said. “Anytime I went to a rodeo in the past, the points counted and there was an end game with so much motivation. There’s got to be some gold at the end of the line to motivate me. But like I said, I’m a trinket junkie, and Pendleton has the best prizes.”
He plans to ride one of his own head horses, and get on Shane Hanchey’s Si in the tie-down. Trevor’s not yet sure which steer horse he’ll ride. Will he have his horseshoes pulled then tacked back on with ice nails for traction?
“Hell yeah to ice nails,” he said. “A little do a little good, and a lot do a lot of good. I always ride my horses out there on the grass without ice nails to let them know that they need to pay attention, so it’s on their mind that they need to notice that grass. I let them slip around a little bit as a heads up. I don’t ride them out there with ice nails until day of, but they definitely get them for game time.”
Trevor will fly in for Pendleton this go-round. Wife Shada will hold down the fort at home in Decatur, Texas, as all three kids are in school now. Treston’s a freshman, Style’s in seventh grade and Swayzi Jane’s a first-grader.
“I’ll fly out right after Treston’s first high school rodeo,” Trevor said. “Entering Pendleton has given me a reason to run down the rope with him the last couple weeks. I’ve run three calves three different times now, and have flanked and tied to the post with Treston. I’ve been getting a little practice in, but not a lot.”
Surely stepping off is just like riding a bike, huh?
“You don’t have to get your hooey on a bike,” he chuckled. “I’ve got to stay down for that.”
Trevor’s Pendleton 2022 Tour will kick off with Monday’s team roping slack.
“I’m excited,” he said of returning to battle at the seven-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year. “Pendleton is not your cookie-cutter rodeo. It’s a cowboy kind of rodeo, and I like that. It’s so different and unique. That’s the allure to it.”