Home-field edge may help Brazile

Trevor Brazile will feel right at home tonight when he rides into the Thomas & Mack Center for the opening of the National Finals Rodeo — and not just because the 33-year-old Texan has competed in the event every year since 1998.

Brazile’s penchant for preparation led him to reconfigure the arena at his ranch in Decatur, Texas, to the same size as the one in the Thomas & Mack. He has spent the past few weeks there team roping with partner Patrick Smith in the morning and calf roping in the afternoon.

"Trevor’s work ethics are very strong," said legendary roper Roy Cooper, Brazile’s father-in-law and an eight-time PRCA world champion. "Once he got a taste of winning the all-around, he knew he could, and then he got another."

This is the 51st year for the Finals, and their 25th year in Las Vegas, and it probably will be another history-making rodeo for Brazile.

It seems each year he has rewritten a record. Last year, he became the first cowboy to exceed $3 million in career earnings.

Brazile has built a nearly insurmountable lead this season in his quest to match Ty Murray’s mark of seven all-around titles in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

"When I won my fifth one (in 2007), everybody said I was getting closer to Ty’s record, but I always wanted to take it one year at a time," Brazile said.

That year has come.

"I really feel this is one of the best years I’ve ever had," he said. "I’ve been real healthy and able to rope a lot of calves for the last two to three weeks."

Brazile has won $288,588 this year and hasn’t let up, even though he leads by $145,000 in all-around.

He admitted a week ago he had a minor groin strain from practicing so hard.

"It’s hard for me to find a balance (with practice time) when I’m healthy," Brazile said. "I just go like heck and don’t get smart until I get some nagging soreness."

He will start the Finals ranked first in calf roping and fifth in team roping as a header. If he and Smith can win the team roping championship after the 10-day rodeo, Brazile will become the first in PRCA history to own world titles in the three roping events: calf, team and steer roping, which is not contested in the NFR.

"I enjoy the fight and when it’s over," said Brazile, who thinks his big cushion in all-around will enable him to concentrate more on finishing first in calf and team roping. "I can work on what I need to do to win world championships in those events instead of what I need to do in those events to win the all-around championship."

Last year, Brazile clinched his sixth all-around gold buckle after the sixth go-round. This year, it’s likely to happen sooner.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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