Gunning For Another Round of Rodeo History
Cowboy King Trevor Brazile rides into this week’s $425,000 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kansas, in search of his 26th gold buckle. He’s also set to surpass his own mark of being rodeo’s only $6 million man by reaching $7 million—a mark that basically doubles the career earnings of next-in-line Cody Ohl, who won $3,510,941 in those years he set the roping chutes on fire.
Defending World Champion Steer Roper Brazile, who’ll turn 44 on November 16, is just $12,865 away from $7 million worth of deposited rodeo checks in his second-to-none cowboy career. Rounds at the November 6-7 NFSR—which starts Friday at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas—will pay $9,155. The 2020 NFSR average champ will bank $27,347.
“I really feel like there’s less pressure than normal, maybe because 25 is just a way rounder number than 26,” said Brazile, who opted out of No-Shave November this year and just packed a razor for the trip to Kansas. “It’s always great to have one more, but for some reason the goal of 25 sounded cooler than 26.”
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Trevor will have to take on a talent-packed NFSR 2020 field to grab another gold buckle. Brazile—who also won the NFSR average last year after pocketing six go-round checks—rides into 2020 NFSR battle ranked fourth in the world behind regular-season leader Cole Patterson, who’s the 25-year-old son of four–time World Champion Steer Roper Rocky; four-time World Champion Steer Roper Scott Snedecor; and Vin Fisher Jr., who was the reserve champ of the world behind Brazile in 2019. It’s tight at the top. Brazile only trails leader Patterson by $6,211.
To break anymore rodeo records, Brazile’s basically going to have to outdo himself. That said, which would mean more to him—a 26th gold buckle or reaching $7 million?
“It’d probably be coolest to win the world championship, because that would check both boxes,” said Trevor, who’ll be riding John Bland’s horse Salty in Mulvane. “Winning $7 million is cooler to me in the grand scheme of things, but the very best scenario would be winning a 26th world title if I had to win about $80,000 at the Finals to get it done. Coming through and having a big performance always means a lot.”
Brazile also owns the record for the most world all-around crowns at 14, which is exactly twice as many as living roughstock legend Ty Murray. The top three 2020 all-around contenders are reigning champ Stetson Wright, who won $86,584 in the regular season and qualified in both saddle bronc riding and bull riding for this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo; Tuf Cooper, who’s just $1,037 behind Wright and is a 2020 NFSR qualifier and NFR tie-down roper; and defending World Champion Header Clay Smith, who’s only $5,847 short of Wright’s lead.
Asking Trevor his pick in this year’s world all-around race backs him in a corner a bit, as Cooper is Brazile’s brother-in-law.
“There are some subtle changes at the NFR this year timed-event-wise that fit Tuf and Clay’s styles,” Trevor said. “If they lengthen the barriers (at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, from the scoreline at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas), that plays into both those guys’ strengths in their respective events. Tuf is so athletic, the longer they have to chase them the more he seems to make up time. And Clay’s horse (Marty) is so good and fits that scenario so well.
“Tuf and Stetson obviously have the best chances, because of their double qualifications. Stetson’s second event is worth more money than Tuf’s. But I expect Tuf and Clay to really excel at the NFR.”