The ultimate goal, since the day Trevor Brazile won his first all-around world title in 2002, always was to break Ty Murray’s record of seven all-around world crowns.
Brazile, who since has shattered Murray’s mark with 10 all-around world titles — including a record seven straight and counting — could scarcely fathom the idea of making a run at Guy Allen’s record of 18 total world titles.
“I didn’t set out to do it because I didn’t think it would be done, honestly,” Brazile said. “I was around when Guy was winning those, and I was like, ‘That won’t ever be done.’”
Fittingly, Brazile matched Allen’s record in November by winning the National Finals Steer Roping championship in Guthrie, Okla., at the Lazy E Arena — the same place where Allen won most of his 18 steer roping gold buckles.
“I was there when he won his 18th in the same arena and same event,” Brazile said. “It’s pretty awesome (to tie the record), but I never set it as a goal, because I really tried to set attainable goals and I didn’t think that was one at the time.”
Brazile, whose father, Jimmy Brazile, was a four-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier, grew up studying Allen — a family friend — and emulating his style, which he used to trip countless bales of hay before trying his technique on a steer.
“I modeled a lot of my steer roping on him,” Brazile said. “I spent numerous hours with him on the dummy talking it through.
“When I was a kid, putting the horns in the bale of hay was the only kind of dummy we had.”
While Brazile admired Allen, his own aim always was to excel in several disciplines.
“Growing up, I didn’t want to be known as a calf roper or a team roper or a steer roper. I just wanted to be known as a great cowboy,” Brazile said. “I wanted to be versatile. That always impressed me more than the specialists.
“That’s always been my goal and the mark I wanted to leave.”
The Decatur, Texas, cowboy can consider that mission accomplished — with his 10 all-around titles (2002-04, 2006-12), four steer roping crowns (2006, 2007, 2011, 2013), three tie-down roping titles (2007, 2009, 2010) and one team roping title (2010).
But the 37-year-old isn’t done adding to his collection of gold buckles.
With a virtually insurmountable lead of more than $122,000 over Tuf Cooper in the all-around standings entering the National Finals Rodeo — which will run Thursday through Dec. 14 at the Thomas &Mack Center — Brazile, who has won $255,187, appears assured of his 11th all-around crown, which would give him his unprecedented 19th world title.
While that record surely will be significant to Brazile, he said he accomplished everything he set out to do the day he topped Murray’s mark in 2010.
“I’ve just enjoyed the ride after that,” he said. “I get to do what I love for a living. It’s pretty hard to have a bad day when that’s the case.
“If I quit tomorrow, I’m happy. I’ve done all I wanted to do.”
Not that Brazile plans to quit anytime soon. He’s having too much fun to retire.
“I love the sport,” he said. “I love good horses. In this industry, you’re around a lot of them.”
As for his place in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association history — and whether he should be considered the greatest cowboy ever — Brazile will leave that debate to others.
“That’s for history to decide. That’s not me,” he said. “The world champions are great, but anybody that’s able to make a living rodeoing, I consider all of them great cowboys.”
Along with Allen, Brazile said he admired mentor Roy Cooper and Joe Beaver — but perhaps nobody more than Murray, who competed in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.
“He was a man that did more than one event, so I could relate to how hard it was to kind of juggle all three at once,” he said. “People don’t understand how hard that is unless you try it at this level.”
Adding to his records collection, Brazile — who has made more than $4.85 million in his career — also won four rounds at the National Finals Steer Roping to raise his total number of round wins at the National Finals to 54, breaking Billy Etbauer’s mark of 51.
Making Brazile’s 16th straight trip to the NFR more special is the fact his wife, Shada Brazile, has qualified for her first NFR in barrel racing.
“She was at my side before we ever won one world championship, and she helped me do whatever it took,” he said. “She made sacrifices to make me successful, and it’s awesome to see her take some time for herself.
“This is a year to remember, for sure.”
■ NOTE — The NFR will be televised live daily at 7 p.m. Thursday through Dec. 14 by GAC (374).
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.