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December 14, 2012

Brazille setting more records at top Rodeo finals

LAS VEGAS — Trevor Brazile rides deeper and deeper into rodeo history.

The Decatur cowboy clinched a record 10th world all-around title at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Ty Murray of Stephenville has seven world all-around titles, the second-most of any cowboy. Larry Mahan and Tom Ferguson each have six.

In 1998, Murray broke Mahan and Ferguson's record. And in 2010, Brazile moved past Murray.

However, becoming the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's top money winner for the 10th time has a special ring.

"It's a nice, round number," Brazile said of his 10th all-around title in 11 years. "The only thing that sounds better than 10 would be 11."

Brazile clinched the title on Dec. 10 after finishing third in the fifth round of team roping.  

"I had a little celebration dinner and everybody was saying, 'I knew that you were going to win it the whole time,'" Brazile said. "While I appreciate the confidence of my fans and everyone around me, to me, there was a big relief, just knowing that it was done.

"There's just something in you that makes you exhale. In my case, it's 'I have this one down and I go for the next one.'"

Brazile entered this year's NFR leading the all-around race by more than $103,000 over bucking-stock rider Steven Dent.

"People say, 'Well you came in here with a $100,000 lead,'" Brazile said. "But this is Las Vegas and this is how good this rodeo is. [Bareback champion] Kaycee Feild came in here last year and won more than $170,000. I can come here and have a pretty good Finals and win $70,000. But if my nearest competitor wins $175,000 and I came in with a $103,000 lead, I still lose it."

The right match-up

As team roper Colby Lovell was about to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 11, he was well aware that he had drawn a great steer.

Lovell, a Huntsville native who lives in Madisonville, and his partner Russell Cardoza, learned that they would chase down the same steer that had helped Erich Rogers and Kory Koontz win the third round on Dec. 8.

So, when Lovell backed into the box to compete in the sixth round, he had great expectations. Lovell and Cardoza took advantage of their great opportunity by winning the round with a speedy time of 3.5 seconds. Each cowboy earned $18,257.

“I knew it was a good steer,” Lovell said. “I got a good start and when you get a good start on a good steer, it always makes things easier.”

Lovell made a quick head catch. And that prompted Cardoza, an Oregon cowboy, to throw a fast loop to snatch the steer’s heels.

“When I heard everybody yelling that Colby was good at the barrier and I saw his loop go around the horns that fast, I was just, ’thinking rope two feet,’” Cardoza said. “There’s no reason to take another swing when you’re in that part of the arena, because if you do, he’ll just get stuck against the wall. I think my eyes lit up pretty big when I saw his rope go on.”

Lovell is making his third NFR appearance. He also qualified in 2010 and in 2011.

The NFR began Dec. 6 and runs will conclude its 10-day run Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Cutting horse update

At the National Cutting Horse Association World Finals in Fort Worth, two North Texas competitors rode away with the two most prestigious titles as the 2012 edition concluded Dec. 8 at W.R. Watt Arena. Phil Rapp of Weatherford and Dont Look Twice clinched the open division title. Brandon Dufurrena of Gainesville, who saddled an explosive young mare named Nievas, won in non-pro competition.

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