12.06.2014
LAS VEGAS

 

Brazile Hits Jackpot with Gold Buckle 21

 

Courtesy of the PRCA

Trevor Brazile doubled down on his gold buckle count for the season when he hit No. 21 by clinching the all-around world championship Saturday night before a sold-out crowd of 17,858 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The King of the Cowboys has won a record 12 all-around titles, and an unprecedented nine straight.

"This is awesome," Brazile said. "Every time that number gets bigger, it gets harder to believe. I never expected anything like this, so it almost doesn't seem real."

Brazile has earned $361,046 during the 2014 season. That's $197,605 more than Tuf Cooper, who is second in the all-around standings.

The incomparable Brazile won the steer roping gold buckle Nov. 8 and sits second in both team roping and tie-down roping, so he has a chance to win two more gold buckles.

"What makes it extra exciting is the chance at another Triple Crown," said the Decatur, Texas, cowboy. "After tonight, one more (gold buckle) will complete it. So getting this one done gives me some piece of mind. I never take winning championships for granted."
Brazile claimed Triple Crowns - three world titles in one season - in 2007 and 2010. A third Triple Crown would equal the record set by ProRodeo Hall of Famer Jim Shoulders (1956-58), who always accomplished the feat in the same three events: all-around, bull riding and bareback riding. If Brazile wins the team roping title for a third Triple Crown, he will have done it with three different combinations of events.

No cowboy has ever achieved a Grand Slam - winning four gold buckles in one season.

"I think they (world titles) mean more to me the older I get," said Brazile, who turned 38 last month. "It seems like my competition gets younger every year. That's why I keep enjoying it more. At some point, there's going to be a changing of the guard. So every gold buckle means more as time marches on."

Brazile, a team roping header, and partner Travis Graves were second in Round 3 with a time of 4.0 seconds, just .1 behind round winners Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves.

Ever the perfectionist, Brazile said, "I was really disappointed with my execution in the team roping (Friday) night, but I'm looking forward and taking every calf and every steer for what he is. I'm just going to keep doing my best every night."

Brazile finished fourth in Round 3 tie-down roping with a time of 7.4 seconds.

Brazile is $17,823 behind team roping header leader Clay Tryan. He's $26,873 behind tie-down roping leader Cooper, who is his brother-in-law.

Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves claimed the team roping win, and both sit third in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings.

"We decided not to be more conservative, but to try to be a little more consistent," Eaves said. "I want to make sure I catch 'em all. I don't have to worry about Dustin, so I just have to focus on doing my job, which keeps my hands full. That run was what we've been practicing. We're going to keep trying to make the same runs without doing anything crazy. There are a lot of steers left, and there's a lot of money to be won. So I don't want to get too excited about tonight. It'd be nice to win something in the average, too, but this is a good start right here."

Bird rode a different horse, using fellow WNFR header Kaleb Driggers' Fast Time. Bird rode his own horse, Dolly, in the first two rounds.

"I wasn't having very good rhythm with my mare (Dolly) - she was getting a little too excited, and I broke the barrier last night - so I decided to try something different," Bird said. "Kaleb's horse gives you a lot of time, so you don't have to get in a rush all the time.
"I want to catch every steer as fast as I can, but I don't want to miss. Fast Time's a horse you can catch a lot of steers on, because he doesn't get quick. That was the first steer I ever ran on that horse. I'll be back on him tomorrow."

Kyle Irwin won Round 3 in steer wrestling after sharing the win last night and earning a fifth-place check on opening night. He leads the average with 10.9 seconds on three steers, and moved into third place in the world standings, just $12,348 behind leader Nick Guy.
"It's a little bit surreal," said the Robertsdale, Ala., cowboy, who earned $19,002 with the Round 3 win. "I also don't mean this (to sound) arrogantly, but I always knew if I got here, I would at least try and win first every night. I'm going to try and go as fast as I can with the opportunity I have and the steers that I have. Hopefully, I will make no mistakes and the rest will take care of itself."

Irwin, who is making his Finals debut, is just the second steer wrestler from Alabama to qualify for the WNFR, after Victor Deck (1996-97), who tied for one round win.

Irwin just missed breaking the Round 3 steer wrestling record at the WNFR. The late Ricky Huddleston holds that mark with a 3.1-second time in 1985. Steve Duhon (1986) and Bryan Fields (2001) share the WNFR record at 3.0 seconds.

Irwin was riding Sketch, a horse owned by Tyler Pearson, and gave much of the credit to the horse.

"He got me the win at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (in Guthrie, Okla.)," Irwin said. "I've been riding that horse since October of 2013 and I sure like him."

Bareback rider Justin McDaniel, the 2008 world champion, took advantage of his dream draw and rode for 89 points on Frontier Rodeo's Delta Ship to win the event. Back in 2007, McDaniel set the arena record when rode for 91.5 points on Delta Ship, also in Round 3.

In three outs on the horse, McDaniel had three wins. Make it four now.

So what did McDaniel think when he saw the draw with Delta Ship next to his name?

"That I had a chance to break the record and win the round, and that it was all up to me," he said. "I knew the horse would do his part. I just wanted to stay calm, be confident and have fun. I've had that horse three times and been 91.5, 87 and 92 on him. He's my favorite horse."

He said the horse was as good as advertised.

"He's exactly what you want in a bucking horse," McDaniel said. "He's big and strong and kicks hard. At about six seconds, he jumped so high and I was right in time with him, and that's what I've dreamed about when I was a kid. And when the crowd at the NFR stands up and cheers for you, it's the best feeling in the world."

McDaniel moved to fifth in the world standings and leads the average. He's earned $110,641 in 2014, but that puts him far behind three-time defending world champion Kaycee Feild, who tied for fifth place in Round 3, and leads all bareback riders with $195,370.

"I came in 14th and still have a lot of ground to cover," McDaniel said. "I need to keep winning rounds and see what happens."

McDaniel also leads the RAM Top Gun Award standings, which recognizes the contestant who wins the most money in a single event at the WNFR. He has $45,463, while steer wrestler Luke Branquinho is second with $41,529 and Irwin is third with $40,916. Brazile is tied for fourth at $38,005 with team roping partners Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager.

Five-time World Champion Tie-down Roper Cody Ohl broke his own round record when he won in 6.6 seconds, .1 faster than the mark he set a year ago.

"I knew I was fast, and it's funny to say, but I could've broke the arena record right there," Ohl said. "I was already like a quarter of a way to the calf and I didn't think there was any way I got out. I kind of had a little hitch there when I flanked him, but my mind was like, 'Man, I broke the barrier. I broke the barrier.' Then I throw my hands up and I'm looking at the judge and he's holding the barrier up there and it's not broke. I thought, 'Are you kidding me?'"

Ohl's victory was especially satisfying, since it came one night after his rope broke in Round 2, which led to a no-time.

"Everybody was like, 'Oh man,' and it was (just) the second round and this thing had not even started yet," Ohl said. "There were eight more go-rounds at $19,000. My confidence and attitude hadn't changed one ounce since (Friday), and that's what it takes to move on, and then come back and bounce back, like I did tonight."

Ohl set the arena record of 6.5 seconds in 2003's Round 10, and he owns six of the 10 round records. He has 10 rounds of less than 7 seconds. He's won 50 rounds at the Finals in tie-down roping, also a record. Ohl has a total of 53 career round wins, counting three at the National Finals Steer Roping, which is three shy of Brazile's overall record of 57.

Rookie bull rider Sage Kimzey, who leads the world standings, was thrilled to win Round 3. He rode for 84.5 points on Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo's Line Man, and said it was just as good as he'd imagined.
"It was everything I thought it would be, and more," Kimzey said. "I've said it over and over again this season, but I'm living out my childhood dream, and it's everything I hoped it would be. I can't even describe the feeling of the crowd going crazy for me, and it's a feeling I've never been close to experiencing in my life. It's something else, and I don't know how many people get a feeling like that in their lives."

Kimzey said he gets pumped up to perform in front of large crowds - and that he is confident about excelling in the Finals.
"The greater the pressure, the better I feel I perform," he said. "It's been that way since I was a little kid, and I'm not sure why, but it seems like the big moments are when I thrive and do the best. Every moment in my life has led up to me riding here."

Wade Sundell claimed the Round 3 saddle bronc riding win for the second year in a row when he rode Rafter G Rodeo's Low Bucks for 87 points.

"I had never been on that horse before, but I had seen him quite a few times, and he always looked like he'd be a good one to have," said Sundell, who is sixth in the world. "You always want to ride those horses that buck real hard and will buck you off if you stub your toe. You can have fun and show off on those kind of horses, and it worked out awesome for me tonight."

The Coleman, Okla., cowboy has qualified for the last six Finals, and said it's still a thrill to take a victory lap.
"It absolutely doesn't get old to win here," he said, "and I wish I could do this again seven more nights."

Kassidy Dennison won the barrel racing with a time of 13.94 seconds and sits fourth in the world. Fallon Taylor, who won Round 1, took over the lead in the barrel racing world standings when she earned a check for third place.

"I am so excited I can hardly speak," said Dennison, who is competing at her first Finals. "I can hardly believe it. It is so exciting having so many of my family here with me to share this victory."

The 56th annual Wrangler NFR continues Sunday with the fourth round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. (PT) with Jeff Medders and Butch Knowles announcing.