My ranch-raised cowboy horse doctor dad has commented all his life about how people always want to talk about the studs when it’s the mares who raise the colts. Don’t get me wrong—dads are a big deal, too. But with May comes Mother’s Day. Perfect timing to get to know the mom who made sure the winningest cowboy of all time would always stay humble and kind; a gentleman of manners and grace in and out of the arena. Glenda Light Brazile Horney is Trevor’s mom. And there’s so much more to this sweet little lady than most could ever imagine.
Glenda grew up in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of C.C. and Gertrude Light, and big sister to brother Jerry (who is two years younger, but because they share a December 2 birthday always loved telling people they were twins). C.C. built horse trailers as Light Trailer Manufacturing, and his trailers had the reputation of pulling great and lasting forever. Trevor still has the one-horse trailer Pa C.C.—who sold his fifth-wheel patent to then-powerhouse Miley Trailers—and Uncle Jerry built him for high school graduation. C.C. also taught sheet metal layout, drafting and welding at the old air base in Amarillo.
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Little girl Glenda used to sneak out of the house before sunrise, saddle her pony Trixie, ride back up to the house and surprise her parents. She and brother Jerry were daredevils, who thought they were trick riders at times.
“Dad built trailers for ranch people, so when I was growing up a lot of my horses came from trailer trades,” Glenda said. “I ran barrels, roped and tied goats. Back then, we could sometimes enter the steer riding, and girls could ride with two hands. Not many girls entered, but it counted for the all-around, so I did.”
Her freshman year of college, Glenda won the all-around saddle at the all-girl rodeo in Sweetwater, Texas, where she placed in the cow riding, ribbon roping and ski-hide race, in which she rode a board on her belly down the arena, around a barrel and back in tow by another girl on a horse at high speed.
“I went back to college black and blue from my elbows to my armpits,” Glenda smiled. “Being black and blue was no big deal, but I was so mad, because I hadn’t taken off my belt, and that arena sand scratched the heck out of my buckle.”
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Glenda Light won the all-around cowgirl saddle at the XIT Rodeo in Dalhart, Texas, one year, too, with wins in the barrel racing and steer dobbing.
C.C. Light was a horseman, and Glenda says Trevor picked up a lot of his special way with horses from Pa. C.C. made Trevor’s horses the old-fashioned way, starting with a lot of pen roping. C.C. ran the Tri State Rodeo Association, so when Trevor was a little boy he often rode along with Pa and Nan to those rodeos.
“Trevor loved riding his horse around the rodeos when he was little, and always rode in and out of the box until they shooed him out of there,” Glenda remembers. “One of his signature mounts was a red dun horse he called Pogi that Roy Cooper had sent to Jimmy (Trevor’s dad) to get him ready for Roy’s boys.”
When Trevor grew up, he married Roy’s stepdaughter, Shada, and became family and neighbors to Roy and those boys, Clint, Clif and Tuf. Shada, Clif and Tuf share Mom Shari.
“Trevor had a string of horses he called his wild bunch,” Glenda said. “My dad found the horses and rode them until they were gentle enough for Trevor. Then Trevor rode and roped on them constantly. He sold some of them along the way to keep upgrading his herd. They’d get too slow or old for him, but they were perfect for the next kids coming up.
“One of the little horses Trevor rode, Socks, was sold to the Lewis family for Monty (who went on to become the 2004 world champion tie-down roper). Vance Vest at one time tracked down and bought as many horses Trevor had ridden as he could for his boys (Vandon, Stetson and Sawyer, who are Shada’s cousins, so also are kin to Trevor now).”
Glenda Light married Jimmy Brazile on August 15, 1970. She had just graduated from West Texas A&M University in Canyon with a double major in physical education and English after spending two years at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas.
While in high school and at South Plains College, Glenda spent her summers working as a markings clerk for the American Quarter Horse Association. She took photos from various angles owners sent in and used them to hand-draw markings—“stockings, snips, brands, anywhere there was white”—on registration papers. Glenda taught a year of PE at Amarillo High when she and Jimmy were newlyweds.
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The Braziles moved from Amarillo to Gruver, Texas, a couple years after they got married. Jimmy looked after wheat-pasture cattle there, and Glenda helped him one winter when the weather was severe.
“I didn’t think anyplace could be colder than Amarillo,” Glenda said. “But Gruver was. We couldn’t keep the hot-wire fence hot, because of the weight of the ice. And when the blizzards were bad, the drifts were so high the cattle walked right over the fences.”
[Read: At Home With Trevor Brazile]
Glenda taught PE and English at Gruver Middle School, which served kids K-7, for about 10 years. She also taught Driver’s Ed. During that time, Trevor Jim Brazile—Glenda and Jimmy’s only child—was born in Amarillo on November 16, 1976. Glenda stayed home with her baby boy about six weeks before returning to school.
“Larry Dawson was a bulldogger, and his wife at that time, Pat, taught school with me at Gruver Middle School,” Glenda said. “Our boys—my Trevor and Pat’s Jace—were born two weeks and two days apart. Pat’s mother, Mae Farren, asked me if I would consider letting her take care of Trevor with Jace. She said she’d always wanted twins. Nanny Mae was such a blessing. She was wonderful the way she made over those kids. Trevor and Jace (who grew up to be a banker) had Mae’s full attention all day long, and she just loved them so much. Mae said Trevor was always well-behaved, unless Jace tried to mess with his rope.”
The Braziles moved from Gruver to Krum, Texas, “about the time the cattle market had crashed and Trevor was about to start second grade,” Glenda remembers. “Trevor was concerned. He said, ‘Mom, we’re the Gruver Greyhounds. What are we going to be now, the Krum Crackers?’ He was so relieved when I told him we’d be the Krum Bobcats.”
Glenda and Jimmy got divorced when Trevor was 11. Trevor, who started entering rodeos at about 9, was quite the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping all-around hand. He graduated from Krum High in 1995, then accepted a scholarship to Vernon (Texas) College.
“A horse fell and tore all the ligaments in Trevor’s left ankle right after his high school graduation, so I called Coach Mahoney and told him he might not want to go through with the scholarship,” Glenda said. “Trevor decided he could still team rope, and the coach said not to worry about it, because he felt like Trevor could make up the difference during the second semester. The doctor said some of the ligaments weren’t even attached anymore, so he did surgery. He drilled holes in Trevor’s ankle bone, and knitted those ligaments back together.”
As will happen with moms who might worry, it was years before Glenda got the true story from Trevor about how that ankle injury actually happened. Come to find out, he was gathering steers one day, one turned back and Trevor roped and tripped the steer on the slick, dewy grass. Down he and his horse went.
When Trevor was 19, he got called up off of the waiting list to compete at his first Timed Event Championship. He was just starting to step off of a horse again, so his ankle was taped and he wore lace-up roper boots for support. Two years later in 1998, Trevor won the first of a record seven Timed Event titles, the same year he heeled for J.P. Wickett at his first National Finals Rodeo.
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Jimmy Brazile was a four-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier, by the way, and he did it left-handed. Trevor remembers a time he and his dad entered on the same horse, and laid the trip in opposite directions. But that’s another story.
“Trevor was always really sweet,” Glenda said. “He hated to get a spanking. When you had to really scold him about anything, it broke his heart, because he was so tender-hearted and he wanted to be good. Trevor always got up in the morning, got his jeans on, tucked his shirt tail in and put his belt on. We could not leave the house until those things were done. And Trevor always watched everything very closely at the arena and rodeos. I never had to ask him to pay attention.
“We were playing out in the arena one time, and I did a pretend interview when he was riding back up the arena. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said, ‘I’m going to be a world champion calf roper, team roper and all-around cowboy. I put a calf roping picture in his yearbook his senior year, with a note to Trevor that said, ‘Your goal in life is to be a world champion calf roper, team roper and all-around cowboy. My goal for you is to have a good Christian heart and lots of friends. I hope we both get our wishes.’”
They did, and then some. Her Trevor—who was quite the ball-handling basketball guard in high school before it got in the way of his rodeo schedule—is the winningest cowboy of all time.
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At 5’ 10” and 175 pounds, Trevor was never the biggest or the strongest. But he was never outworked or outsmarted.
“I told Trevor, ‘God has given you a talent,’” Glenda remembers. “He blessed you with this roping arm and this mind to succeed. When God’s with you, it’s amazing what you can do. There’s no stopping you. Trevor has been so driven all of his life. People have asked how I motivated him in the beginning, and I tell them you can’t whip a kid into wanting it or want it for him. Trevor’s always been sensible and responsible, and he’s always wanted it.”
He proved that yet again, when the first thing Trevor did after semi-retiring was win his 25 gold buckle last year.
“I love that Trevor’s accomplished so many things in rodeo that he wanted to, and that he’s stayed so humble about it,” said Glenda, who since marrying her second husband, Guy Horney, in 2013 has lived in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. “I’m most proud that he has a good heart. He’s a great dad and husband, and he’s a Godly man. Those are Trevor’s best traits.”
And Glenda’s greatest gifts to her son through his eyes?
“My mom always gave more than she could afford to give,” Trevor said. “And she’s selfless. If anyone in the family ever got sick, Mom was taking care of them. Mom was tough, too. She never has let me give her a one-word answer. She might ask how I did, and I’d tell her I missed. She wanted to know why I missed. I’d try telling her I just missed, but she wanted to know what happened—all of it.
“And she’s competitive. To this day, she’ll tell me, ‘Go rope the snot out of that calf or steer.’ My mom’s always just been everything in every situation. There was nothing I couldn’t go to her with. No one has ever believed in me more than my mom. In rodeo, you have to be resourceful, and a mom on a teacher’s salary trying to help her kid reach his dreams is the definition of resourceful. My mom always tells me I’m her favorite son. Then we laugh.”
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