December 5, 2011 -- The sun comes up in the morning, the moon rises at night and Trevor Brazile is the World Champion All-Around Cowboy.
Some things are inevitable.
Brazile clinched his record ninth world all-around championship and his 16thgold buckle overall - which ties him with Jim Shoulders for second all-time in ProRodeo history. Only steer roper Guy Allen (with 18) has more.
The win was assured during Round 4 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday afternoon in front of 17,094 fans. Virtually assured of winning the title, it was just a matter of how soon Brazile would officially earn the gold buckle. To clinch it in Round 4, he needed to win $17,385 in go-round earnings, and that was only if bull rider Shane Proctor was able to win each of the final seven rounds, plus the average. Brazile got off to a great start with a second-place finish in the team roping with partner Patrick Smith. The cowboys earned $14,135 apiece for their 4.7-second run, and left Brazile sitting within a fifth-place finish in the tie-down roping of clinching the all-around crown.
A miss on his first loop took Brazile out of the money in tie-down roping, but he clinched the title anyway when bull rider Proctor bucked off later in the round. Proctor, who also rode saddle bronc horses in 2011, was the lone cowboy with a mathematical shot at catching Brazile for the all-around going into Round 4.
"It's a totally different feel, because everything was around 7 my whole life, then to beat that last year?those were milestones that I'd set for myself," Brazile said. "It's an uncharted territory, and I'm just thrilled to have such a blessed year this year again. To clinch it this early, it kind of lets a guy let his hair down in the single events."
Brazile now sets his sights on Allen for the most world titles in ProRodeo history.
"When I came into this game, I was one of the guys that was saying those records would never be broken," Brazile said. "To talk about Jim Shoulders, I said that's not going to happen in this new era of rodeo. It doesn't even seem real to me to reach that 16thtitle. My career has been more than I could ever dream it would be at this point. I'm loving it. I'm living the dream, actually. I didn't dare to dream this stuff, I'll be honest."
With his second-place check on Sunday, Brazile topped $300,000 for a record-sixth consecutive year. He sits at $305,581 four rounds into the NFR, with Proctor a distance second in the all-around standings at $137,774.
While Proctor bucked off, three-time defending champion J.W. Harris turned in his second qualified ride of the week - an 88-point ride on Mo Betta Rodeo's Bailey Hou - to win the round and his second check of the week. However, he suffered a fractured right foot as he dismounted from the bull.
"It shouldn't affect me at all; it's just my foot, and I don't use my foot to ride bulls, so I'll just get another pair of boots to ride in and the (Justin) Sportsmedicine people will find a way for me to keep going," Harris said. "It's on from here and I'm gunning for the lead; if I get bucked off one, it's not going to be because of lack of effort. It's a whole new game."
Proctor is just sixth in the average race now, but still holds a commanding lead in the bull riding world standings. He's more than $30,000 ahead of Harris, who is fourth in the average.
Shifting to an afternoon performance for Round 4 wasn't enough to slow Jason Miller. The Lance Creek, Wyo., bulldogger won checks in each of the first three rounds and added a first-place check on Sunday.
"It's nice and sunny out this afternoon, and with the cool weather we've had, it's a nice little change to be out in the sun," Miller said. "We've enjoyed it."
He stopped the clock in 3.3 seconds to win $17,885 and push his NFR earnings to $49,038 as he climbed within $3,000 of Luke Branquinho for the top spot in the world standings. Miller is also second to Branquinho in the average race.
Two-time Wrangler NFR qualifier Jesse Wright won his second straight round on Sunday afternoon with an 89.5-point ride aboard Bar T Rodeo's Eight Ball. He was 4.5 points better than second-place Wade Sundell on a day when only four of 14 saddle bronc riders made the eight-second whistle - Cody DeMoss sat out the round with an injury suffered in Round 2.
Wright picked up wins on that horse twice this year.
"I knew he was going to buck like he did, and I knew I really had to be ready to ride," Wright said. "He's usually pretty antsy (in the chute) and he's hard to saddle, but today he was nice and didn't give me any trouble until I nodded."
After no-times in the opening two rounds, defending Wrangler NFR average champions Luke Brown and Martin Lucero got their Finals headed in the right direction with a third-place finish in Round 3. They followed with a win in Round 4 when they stopped the clock at 4.3 seconds to earn $17,885 each.
"I missed the first two steers, which was a real disappointment to me," Brown said. "I feel like I let a lot of people down. I told myself to settle down and make our run, and if that's not fast enough to place, I'll tip my hat and go on to the next round. We didn't like that steer tonight; he was really tough in the first round. I expected him to run harder, but I got a good start and he was right there in front of me quick."
The chance to take yet another victory lap at the Thomas & Mack Center is a driving force for Lucero.
"Taking that victory lap in this arena is probably my favorite thing to do. It's a real thrill," Lucero said. "When you sit down there and watch 10 or 12 teams go that all have a chance to beat you, it seems like the round will never end."
They had to team up to do it, but the bareback riders finally knocked Kaycee Feild from the top spot in Round 4. Steven Dent - who thought he had the round won on Saturday night, only to fall a point short - tied with Cody DeMers for the round win on Sunday.
Dent topped Three Hills Rodeo's Peaches & Cream, while DeMers bested Harry Vold Rodeo's Hypnotic, with each cowboy scoring 87 points to collect checks worth $16,010 each.
"That horse, she came here in 2008 and she was 4 years old. They won second and first in the rounds on her," Dent said of his ride on Peaches & Cream. "She was just like she was today; that horse is great every time. That's her ride every day. All you have to do is set your feet and she usually gets you a check."
DeMers was just as happy with his draw.
"I've been on that horse before and had some success on that horse. I was excited to have that horse here today, and go at him and do the best I could," he said. "There's a lot of money still to be won. Still a lot of nerves to get in the way of things. I'm just going to nod my head the rest of the week and do the best I can and let things fall the way they want to."
Idaho tie-down roper Matt Shiozawa turned in a 7.3-second run to top a tough round in which ropers had to finish in less than eight seconds to win a check. For Shiozawa, it was his first win and third check of the week, and it pushed him past the $1 million mark in PRCA career earnings.
"Yeah, it's great," he said. "I guess you could say it's a milestone. I'm happy to be here, and I'm glad it's going well, and it will be a fun experience tonight. But tomorrow's a different set of calves. That's going to take a lot of thought and preparation, as well."
Texas barrel racer Carlee Pierce took the Round 4 win as she made her first clean run of the week and stopped the clock at 13.81 seconds. So far, it's the fastest run of the week and allowed Pierce to pick up her first Wrangler NFR check.
"I know he can do it; he's a phenomenal athlete," Pierce said of 12-year-old Dillon, a horse she purchased from 2008 Wrangler NFR qualifier Annesa Self. "He was just waiting on me to get my stuff together.
53rd annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
December 4, 2011
Bareback riding:1. (tie) Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb., on Three Hills Rodeo's Peaches & Cream, and Cody DeMers, Kimberly, Idaho, on Harry Vold Rodeo Company's Hypnotic, 87 points, $16,010 each; 3. Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., 83.5, $10,673; 4. (tie) Brian Bain, Culver, Ore., and Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas, 83, $6,058 each;
6. Jason Havens, Prineville, Ore., 82.5, $2,885; 7. (tie) Kaycee Feild, Payson, Utah, and Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas, 82 each; 9. Matt Bright, Azle, Texas, 81.5; 10. Royce Ford, Briggsdale, Colo., 80.5; 11. Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore., 79.5; 12. (tie) Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, and Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., 78.5 each; 14. Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, Texas, 77; 15. Casey Colletti, Pueblo, Colo., 75.5.
Steer wrestling:1. Jason Miller, Lance Creek, Wyo., 3.3 seconds, $17,885; 2. Dean Gorsuch, Gering, Neb., 3.5, $14,135; 3. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.8, $10,673; 4. Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 3.9, $7,500; 5. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 4.0, $4,615; 6. Shawn Greenfield, Lakeview, Ore., 4.2, $2,885; 7. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 5.1; 8. Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 5.2; 9. Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., 5.5; 10. Olin Hannum, Malad, Idaho, 6.2; 11. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 11.9; 12. Todd Suhn, Hermosa, S.D., 13.9; 13. Mickey Gee, Wichita Falls, Texas, 14.0; 14. Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 18.0; 15. Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore., 18.4.
Jason Miller sound byte (.mp3) -Courtesy JSA Sports Network Ltd.
Team roping:1. Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Martin Lucero, Stephenville, Texas, 4.3 seconds, $17,885 each; 2. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Patrick Smith, Midland, Texas, 4.7, $14,135; 3. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Kory Koontz, Sudan, Texas, 9.3, $10,673; 4. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev., 9.8, $7,500; 5. Matt Sherwood, Pima , Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 10.5, $4,615; 6. Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas/Jhett Johnson, Casper, Wyo., 13.0, $2,885; 7. Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 18.8; 8. Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz./Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz., 18.9; 9. (tie) Spencer Mitchell, Colusa, Calif./Broc Cresta, Santa Rosa, Calif.; Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz./Walt Woodard, Stephenville, Texas; Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan.; Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Brad Culpepper, Poulan, Ga.; Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore./Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M.; Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/York Gill, Memphis, Tenn., and Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., NT.
Saddle bronc riding:1. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 89.5 points on Bar T Rodeo's Eight Ball, $17,885; 2. Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa, 85.0, $14,135; 3. Bradley Harter, Weatherford, Texas, 81.0, $10,673; 4. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 76.5, $7,500; 5. (tie) Cody Wright, Milford, Utah; Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D.; Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.; Jacobs Crawley, College Station, Texas; Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn.; Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D.; Ty Atchison, Jackson, Mo.; Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D.; Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas, and Jesse Kruse, Great Falls, Mont., NS.
Tie-down roping:1. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 7.3 seconds, $17,885; 2. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., 7.4, $14,135; 3. Clif Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 7.6, $10,673; 4. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 7.7, $7,500; 5. (tie) Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., and Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 7.8, $3,750 each; 7. Scott Kormos, Teague, Texas, 8.2; 8. Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash., 8.6; 9. (tie) Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, and Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas, 8.8 each; 11. (tie) Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, and Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas, 9.5 each; 13. Jerrad Hofstetter, Portales, N.M., 9.7; 14. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, 14.9; 15. Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, 18.9.
Barrel racing:1. Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas, 13.81 seconds, $17,885; 2. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 13.90, $14,135; 3. Lindsay Sears, Nanton, Alberta, 13.95, $10,673; 4. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.99, $7,500; 5. Brittany Pozzi, Victoria, Texas, 14.00, $4,615; 6. Sue Smith, Blackfoot, Idaho, 14.11, $2,885; 7. Jody Sheffield, Ogden, Utah, 14.12; 8. Jane Melby, Backus, Minn., 14.16; 9. Christina Richman, Glendora, Calif., 14.21; 10. Tammy Fischer, Ledbetter, Texas, 14.22; 11. Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore., 14.25; 12. Angie Meadors, Blanchard, Okla., 14.28; 13. Jill Moody, Letcher, S.D., 14.31; 14. Jeanne Anderson, White City, Kan., 14.46; 15. Britany Fleck, Mandan, N.D., 19.87.
Bull riding:1. J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas, 88.0 points on Mo Betta Rodeo's Bailey Hou, $17,885; 2. Tyler Willis, Wheatland, Wyo., 84.0, $14,135; 3. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo., 73.0, $10,673; 4. Trevor Kastner, Ardmore, Okla., 68.5, $7,500; 5. (tie) Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash.; Jacob O'Mara, Prairieville, La.; Wesley Silcox, Santaquin, Utah; Clayton Foltyn, El Campo, Texas; Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas; Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo.; L.J. Jenkins, Porum, Okla.; Tate Stratton, Kellyville, Okla.; Seth Glause, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Steve Woolsey, Payson, Utah, and Cody Whitney, Asher, Okla., NS.