When a TV cameraman fell over a chair and slammed to the floor Tuesday, Trevor Brazile first made sure the person wasn’t hurt.
Then when it was clear the cameraman suffered only a bruised ego, Brazile grabbed the camera and began to do his own shooting.
Brazile made sure to have fun with the moment, finally able to laugh after ending what little suspense remained the previous night to claim yet another all-around world title.
It was Brazile’s 10th all-around title and seventh in a row, both records, and despite carrying a large lead into the National Finals Rodeo, he wouldn’t allow himself to relax until he wrapped up the championship.
“I appreciate the confidence of my fans and people around me, but to me, it was a big relief just knowing it was done,” Brazile said. “People say, ‘You came in with $100,000 lead.’ This is Las Vegas. This is how good this rodeo is.
“You come here and have what we call a pretty good finals and win $65,000 and somebody wins $175,000, and you were $103,000 in the lead. So nothing was a lock when I came here. I didn’t take anything for granted.”
The seventh straight title gave Brazile the record alone. He had shared it with Ty Murray (1989 to ’94) and Tom Ferguson (1974 to ’79).
Brazile’s work isn’t done at the Thomas & Mack Center. He is chasing the team roping title, and after Tuesday’s sixth go-round possessed a healthy lead. The event, however, is expected to be decided on the final night.
A title in that event would be the 18th for Brazile, tying Guy Allen, who won each of his in steer roping.
Brazile also would become the first to win multiple titles in four categories. In addition to his many all-around championships, he owns three titles each in tie-down roping and steer roping.
He qualified in just the team roping at the NFR, which Brazile thought meant finally being able to spend more time enjoying Las Vegas.
“I had the misconception that I was going to have a lot of free time on my hands,” he said. “But I guess everybody else had the same thoughts because they’ve been keeping me busy. It feels like I’ve been busier this year than any year.”
But Brazile doesn’t seem like a live-in-the-moment guy anyway.
He went out to dinner Monday night to celebrate his all-around championship but a day later already was talking about going for an 11th title.
“Winning championships is pretty addictive,” Brazile said. “It’s so rewarding to get paid off for your hard work.”
It’s not simply drive, though, that forces Brazile to keep driving forward.
A bad back made the road to this year’s championship more difficult than it appeared for the 36-year-old, so he appreciates being able to sustain success.
Brazile doesn’t quite know how to answer questions about retirement, even in his own mind.
He eventually could end his career by winning another all-around title to seemingly put the mark out of reach.
Or he could find the end in some sudden, unexpected way far from the lights of the Strip.
“It’s not always on our terms,” Brazile said. “Health is something that I don’t take for granted. I just want to be able to do it as long as I can and enjoy it.
“That’s something that I’ve just learned the last few years. The uncertainty of health issues can be extremely important.”
■ ATTENDANCE UPDATE – A round-six record crowd of 17,375 showed up Tuesday night, six more than the previous high set in 2000. Five of this year’s first six sessions drew record crowds.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.54th National Finals Rodeo
• WHAT: Seventh round
• WHEN: 6:45 p.m. today
• WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center
• TV: GAC (374)