Trevor Brazile has been telling people for months that his unproven 6-year-old gelding Step N Small Town was going to be a winner.
Brazile sold him just last week to a buyer who believed that—just in time to enjoy that winning season at the Royal Crown Roping Futurity in Buckeye, Arizona, Feb. 12, 2023, where the horse made four runs worth 499.74 points, grossing $7,750 for their efforts, followed by four more runs worth 501.78 points and $9,000 in earnings. He ended the event as the champ in both the All-Ages and 6-&-Under.
“I thought he didn’t feel any different than he did at the house, and on young horses that’s always the trick,” Brazile said of the horse by Wimpys Royal King out of the Von Starlight mare Small Town Blondys. “Some horses are easier to season than others. And he feels like you’re riding a rodeo horse in the futurity.”
That helped in Buckeye, with a rope-barrier up in front of many of these head horses for the first time.
“We’ve run everything through the wands at home, because we’re always dealing with young horses,” Brazile said. “That’s one of the things we’re usually desensitizing them to. I feel like that horse has been around and maybe been exposed a little bit to that before today, at least at the house with the wands or caution tape.
“The Royal Crown is different,” Brazile added. “It’s not a cookie cutter experience everywhere you go. These are fresh, light Mexicans. You have to see tail by the end of the gates every time. Luckily, most of them don’t make you gut a horse but it makes you see if you can see tail by. We’ll go to some that it’s behind the shoulder. It’s not one little cookie cutter scenario everywhere go. It’s what keeps these rope horse futurity horses well rounded for their next job.”
Brazile bought the 15.3-hand horse he calls “Kobe” from Canadian trainer Vaughn Warken, whose horse also won the Royal Crown All-Ages Breakaway and 4-and-Under All-Girl Breakaway Sidepot a day earlier with his 15-year-old daughter Macie Rae. Gerold and Maureen Arnold raised the horse, and they earned $1,500 for the horse’s win, too. They got another $1,500 in winnings for owning Kobe’s sire, Wimpys Royal King.
“It’s the combination of two things: Kiel Wilson was working with Vaughn, and between the two, that’s a great rope horse program,” Brazile said. “I would rather gamble on what I see rather than what I feel sometimes,” Brazile said. “It’s just little intangible things. I wish I could put it into words. It’s not like I’m keeping it top secret. I just like them or I don’t.”
Two-time World Champ Paul Eaves did the heeling for Brazile all day, making heeling behind Brazile’s handles—even though two of four were neck catches—look easy.
“When you guy like that, who says he’s got plenty of help horses, the discussion is over,” Brazile said. “That’s who you want back there. I went for the neck a lot today because you can’t wave it off the neck. The neck, as long as your horse is soft in the corner, is probably a better handle. That horse lets me move him up, and when you have a neck, that’s crucial.” TRJ