Trevor Brazile understands his place in rodeo history.
It’s what motivates him, keeping him in the practice pen long after others would have gone home.
With every run, every throw of his rope, Brazile is seeking the edge to make him that much better.
His place in history is the reason Brazile got up every morning this year ready to hit the arena.
“I was excited as I’ve ever been to start the season,’’ Brazile said of his 2009. “Before, some years, it was hard to leave the house. For some reason this year, I was all charged up.’’
It’s easy to stay excited when you’re winning almost every time you nod your head.
Brazile has already won nine world titles: six all-around, two in steer roping and one in tie-down roping.
He has qualified for national finals events 31 times, the fourth-best in PRCA history and just one behind boyhood idol and father-in-law Roy Cooper along with Guy Allen.
Brazile is the first professional cowboy to clear $3 million in career earnings and with another throw will have earned more than $300,000 four years in a row.
“I’ve always been a student of the sport,’’ said Brazile, who turned 33 on Nov. 16.
“Like I told a friend once, it’s better to be living it than laying on the couch reading about it.’’
Now Brazile is poised to add to his rodeo legacy.
Barring injury, Brazile will win his seventh world all-around title during the National Finals Rodeo. The 51st NFR begins today in Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center.
The seventh world all-around title would put Brazile alongside rodeo legend Ty Murray. Murray won his seven world all-around titles competing in bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding.
Brazile, of Decatur, Texas, has qualified for the NFR in tie-down roping and team roping.
He goes to Las Vegas with $288,588 won for 2009 and a lead of $144,638 over Clint Robinson, of Spanish Fork, Utah, in the all-around standings. Josh Peek, of Pueblo, Colo., is third in the world all-around standings and trails Brazile by $157,322. Peek is the only other cowboy to qualify in two events. He will be competing in steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
Along with the all-around standings, Brazile leads the tie-down roping world standings. He is fifth for team roping headers.
“I’ll approach the Finals the same ways I always have,’’ said Brazile, who won $149,098 at the 2008 NFR. “I’m just going out there to enjoy it and win as much money as I can.’’
Brazile finished with $419,868 in 2008. He set the single-season record of $425,115 in 2007, the same year he won world titles for the all-around, tie-down roping and steer roping for the PRCA Triple Crown.
Brazile won all-around titles at 26 rodeos this past year, including the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede. He won the tie-down roping at 14 rodeos and the team roping at seven. He ropes with Patrick Smith, of Midland, Texas.
Brazile acknowledges that he cut back on his steer roping schedule to help Smith pursue a second world title. Smith won a world team roping championship with Clay Tryan of Billings in 2005.
“When you have a partner who works so hard at it, you want to work hard for them,’’ Brazile said.
And ever the perfectionist, Brazile beefed up his Canadian rodeo schedule this past summer in preparation for the invitation-only Calgary Stampede.
“Every year I never seemed to get tapped off right at Calgary,’’ said Brazile. “I went to more Canadian events this year to get ready for the Stampede. I really enjoy the Canadian rodeos.’’
Brazile traveled with his family — wife Shada and son Treston — for the majority of 2009. “He makes every day more fun,’’ Brazile said of his son, who turned 2 Tuesday. “Traveling with my family made a big difference this year.’’
The traveling Brazile family will expand by one in 2010. He and his wife are expecting a second child in April.
Like his rodeo, Brazile will be prepared.
“I plan on finding out,’’ Brazile said with a good laugh on the boy-or-girl issue. “I don’t like surprises.’’