December 10, 2010 -- With second-place finishes in the team roping and tie-down roping during Round 9 of the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Decatur, Texas, cowboy broke his own single-season earnings record and made the first $500,000 season in ProRodeo a distinct possibility. Brazile earned $27,680 in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,796 at the Thomas & Mack Center to push his season total to $426,574, besting his previous record mark of $425,115 from his Triple Crown season of 2007.
"It's been a lot of fun, and it's just been a great year," said Brazile, who clinched his eighth career all-around gold buckle in Round 2. "I can't begin to describe how blessed I've been all year. It's carried right into the NFR. Tomorrow night is a big night. I'm trying to pull off a Triple Crown. I'm going to have my hands full, but it's on my mind..
"Man, I've got to thank that Ram Top Gun Award for some of that. It's put a whole new perspective on this NFR. I've come out here and roped for championships, and it changes things. There are a lot of times where you're roping for a championship and you don't take chances. You'll take a lot of chances for a Ram truck."
Brazile will be looking to become the first multiple Triple Crown winner since Jim Shoulders (1956-58) and just the third in history. He could also become the first cowboy since Everett Bowman in the mid-1930s to complete a Triple Crown with two different combinations of events. His 2007 Triple Crown came in the all-around, tie-down roping and steer roping.
Brazile is in the driver's seat along with partner Patrick Smith in the team roping and also in the tie-down roping heading into Round 10. He finished second to Ryan Jarrett (7.1) in the tie-down roping with a 7.2-second run in the ninth round, leads the PRCA World Standings and is second in the tie-down roping average.
Jarrett, of Summerville, Ga., won for the first time at this year's Wrangler NFR.
"Oh, it's good, for sure," Jarrett, who was riding a horse named Batman he bought last spring, said of his round win. "Any time you win anywhere - especially at the NFR - it's good. It's exciting, and I can't wait to go to the South Point. I just wanted to get a good start, go through the motions, put a wrap and a hooey on him and see what happens."
Bull rider J.W. Harris stayed red hot in Round 9, finishing second to 2007 World Champion Wesley Silcox with an 89.5-point ride aboard Four L & Diamond S Rodeo's Insaniac to clinch his third consecutive world championship. The Mullin, Texas, cowboy became the first bull rider since Don Gay (1979-81) to win three straight gold buckles and has already clinched the Wrangler NFR average and the $44,910 that comes with it.
"It has been an awesome run here," said Harris, who has covered two more bulls (seven) than any other bull rider in Las Vegas. "It's an honor just to have your name in the same sentence as Don Gay. He's the greatest bull rider there ever has been. It's an honor, but it still doesn't feel right, but I'll take it.
"Now I can breathe little bit and relax. I came out here and did what I was supposed to do - stay on bulls. I didn't worry too much about what was going on with the world standings. I didn't even know I was in first place until Donnie (Gay) came in the locker room and was talking about it. I had the mindset that I'm going to come out and ride 10. It's been the best NFR I have ever had."
Harris, who was unable to ride in five out of 10 rounds at last year's Wrangler NFR, will break B.J. Schumacher's Wrangler NFR earnings record of $142,644 for bull riding from 2006 at the conclusion of Round 10.
Silcox won his first round of this year's Finals with a 90-pointer on Silverado Rodeos' Playmate.
"I feel really good," Silcox said. "Things could be better, but you know things could be worse, too. I just have had some bad luck. I did make a couple of good rides earlier in the week. Things kind of went cold, so it was nice to win the ninth round. I'm excited. It's feels like the first time I ever won a round here."
Calculators will be in use quite a bit during Round 10, including in the team roping. PRCA World Standings leaders Clay Tryan and Travis Graves won Round 9 in 4.2 seconds to hold onto their top spots, but the team of Brazile and Smith were second in the round in 4.3 seconds and remained second in the Wrangler NFR average standings.