May 16, 2011-- It's hard to say whether it is ironic or absolutely fitting that Trevor Brazile became ProRodeo?s first $4-million cowboy May 14 with his steer roping winnings at the Butterfield Stage Days.
Brazile?s steer roping earnings represent the smallest portion of his $4,000,397 ? less than a quarter ? but it was in steer roping that he earned his first National Finals berth (1997) and where he earned his first gold buckle in an individual event (2006).
And then there is the matter of the way Brazile is building up his very substantial lead in the 2011 all-around world standings.
His $46,548 in steer roping is not only more than he has earned in either tie-down roping ($25,305) or team roping ($32,255), it is more money than has been earned by the world standings leaders in steer wrestling, team roping (heading or heeling), saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping.
?That really isn?t a surprise,? Brazile said of how he reached the milestone, ?since the bulk of the money I?ve won this year has come in steer roping. As ironic as it seems, I?d bet that I win more money per rodeo in the steer roping than I do in any other event. It's just a great event for me.?
Bridgeport was his fourth major steer roping title of the season, following the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the SandHills Stock Show & Rodeo in Odessa, Texas, and last week?s Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo.
Thanks, in no small measure, to the prize money infusion in the San Antonio steer roping event this year, Brazile seems well on his way to shattering the year-old record for single-season earnings in the event. He already holds the single-season earnings records for the all-around and for team roping headers.
The 14-time world champion has career totals of $1,917,529 in tie-down roping, $1,157,345 in team roping and $925,523 in steer roping.
?I never imagined winning $4 million,? Brazile said. ?I was rodeoing with Roy (Cooper) when he crossed $2 million, so that was the number I dreamed about for a lot of years. I just think it's cool that I can win this type of money with a rope in my hand.
?The world championships are great ? don't get me wrong ? but the money means a lot, because that's how I support my family. It means that I don't have to go out and get a real job and just try to rodeo as a hobby.?
At Bridgeport, Brazile won the first round of the steer roping in 10.0 seconds, finished second to Vin Fisher Jr. in the second round (9.4 to Fisher?s brilliant 8.8) and won the three-head average with a time of 33.7 seconds. Brazile and partner Patrick Smith finished third in the team roping, and the $1,211 each received in that event allowed Brazile to claim the all-around title with total earnings of $5,652.
His 2011 all-around total of $104,108 puts him over the $100,000 mark for the 14th consecutive season and increases his lead over second-place Cody Ohl to more than $73,000. Brazile has surpassed $200,000 in each of the last 10 years (2001-2010) and $300,000 in each of the last five.
He was the youngest contestant to reach the $2 million milestone (July 2006) and the first to reach $3 million (December 2008) before this latest accomplishment.
?I really don't keep up with the money milestones until I hear that I'm close to reaching one,? Brazile said. ?But I definitely want to stay on track and be the first guy to $5 million now. Hopefully, I can earn that next million as quick or quicker than the last. That's the great thing about numbers like these. Not only is it good for me, but it's good for the sport that somebody can win this type of money ? and it just keeps getting better.?