Fishing was good on the Brazile compound this spring.
Almost every day in May and two weeks into June, Trevor Brazile and his son Treston would prepare their fishing poles, pack a lunch, head to the pond and wait for the fish to bite. And even if the fished passed, it was still a great day for father and son.
“We had a blast,” said the elder Brazile, whose family welcomed daughter Stella on April 1.
The fishing was good for dad because the rodeoing was not.
Brazile was forced to stay at home in Decatur, Texas, for 40 days after suffering a partially torn tendon in his right (throwing) elbow.
“The doctor said no roping at all,” Brazile said.
The injury had been bothering Brazile for almost two years and the problem had finally reached an apex after the winter season.
“If it was a complete tear, I would have needed surgery,” Brazile continued. “It just needed rest because of the overuse.”
During that time off, Brazile could only walk past the practice pen, the place where he relentlessly crafted 11 world titles during his storybook career. And while Brazile was fishing, his peers were out roping and riding at the spring rodeos in California.
“It was tough, really tough,” he said with a tight grin of putting down his ropes for five weeks. “I couldn't even practice because I couldn't swing a rope.”
When Brazile returned, at the Daines Ranch Rodeo in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, in mid-June where he won both the tie-down and team roping, he resumed his tireless pursuit of rodeo history.
The 34-year-old Texas cowboy is poised to win his PRCA-record eighth world all-around championship when the National Finals Rodeo begins Dec. 2 in Las Vegas.
Brazile matched Ty Murray's record of seven in 2009.
This year, Brazile enters the NFR with $296,411 won in team roping, tie-down roping and steer roping. He has a lead of $158,950 over Canadian steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy in the all-around standings and is the only NFR competitor entered in two events (tie-down roping and team roping).
“I don't know what it feels like,” said Brazile of being on the cusp of rodeo history. “If it happens, I guess I'll be the first to know.
“Everybody knew the deal coming into this year. It was going to be a record-breaking year for me or it wouldn't be. I just have to take care of my business at the Finals, I can't worry about anybody else.”
Brazile won or shared 39 titles at rodeos this year - 17 all-around, 10 tie-down roping nine team roping and three steer roping. Along with Innisfail, he also won the tie-down roping and team roping at Oakdale, Calif. Brazile was the high-money winner during “Cowboy Christmas” during the Fourth of July, pocketing $24,253, which included the all-around title at Cody, Wyo., and sharing the team roping title at Red Lodge.
He comes to the NFR second in the tie-down roping standings and eighth for team roping headers. Brazile team ropes with Patrick Smith and has made it clear in the past he would like to win a world team roping championship.
“It's been a great year,” Brazile said. “You go through so many ranges of emotion during the year. This year in particular, because I had to sit out for 40 days.”
Brazile will be joined in the tie-down roping by brothers-in-law Clint, Clif and Tuf Cooper. They are Shada Brazile's brothers and sons of legendary roper Roy Cooper.
“She knows who to root for,” he said with a big smile. “Having my family travel with me most of the year, that's probably been the best part,” he said. “Without their support, none of this happens.”
Brazile is also the reigning tie-down world champion. Along with the seven world all-around titles, he has won the tie-down roping twice (2007, 2009) and the steer roping twice (2006-07).
He is one of two PRCA competitors to earn more than $3 million dollars for his career - Billy Etbauer is the other - and is on pace to become professional rodeo's first $4 million dollar cowboy.
Even with his lengthy list of accomplishments, Brazile quickly declines to put himself up on a pedestal.
“The guys before me ... Larry Mahan, Tom Ferguson, Jim Shoulders, Ty ... they're still my heroes,” he said. “They are the reasons I have these opportunities. The reason I'm able to make the living that I do at something I love.”