LAS VEGAS — Trevor Brazile was sitting in his truck after a rodeo.
He doesn’t remember which rodeo, but Brazile recalled that he won, like so many times before.
Brazile was watching a video of his son’s baseball game. Brazile viewed with pride as Treston, now 11, hit is first over-the-fence home run.
It’s a moment every parent treasures.
But Brazile was not a proud father sitting up in the stands. He was a proud father hundreds of miles away, trying to make a living.
“That was killer,” recalled Brazile, tears brimming in his eyes.
“The trade-off wasn’t worth it anymore.”
Family was always first for professional rodeo’s top cowboy. His family accompanied him during the summer, part of rodeo’s traveling circus that would find tricycles and kiddie pools mixed in around large pickup trucks and horse trailers.
When competing at the Yellowstone Roundup in August in Billings, Brazile would try to squeeze in a fishing trip during the hectic schedule.
"My job is to raise good human beings," he said.
In 2007, after Brazile had won his fifth PRCA world all-around title and his son was exactly two weeks old, he told the Billings Gazette that when Treston came of school age, he was pulling off the road.
He pushed back that decision when Brazile and his wife Shada decided to home school their children at the homestead in Decatur, Texas. They also have daughters Style (8) and Swayzi (3).
“I told my wife when we decided to home school the kids, she would last a year,” Brazile said with a smile. “I underestimated her.”
But Brazile could no longer delay the decision. Prior to the start this year’s National Finals Rodeo, Brazile announced he would no longer rodeo full-time.
And in typical Brazile style, he finished atop the mountain maybe for a final time.
Brazile trailed brother-in-law Tuf Cooper by $12,331 in the all-around standings going into the 10th and final round of the tie-down roping competition. Brazile won the round, and $26,230, with a run of 7.2 seconds. Cooper was called for the PRCA’s “jerk down rule” and given a no time. It was Brazile’s NFR-record 71st go-round win.
The 42-year-old Brazile won his 14th all-around and 24th world title overall by $25,332.
“When I came into round 10, I was honestly so thankful I had another chance,” he said. “It wasn’t maybe the best chance. I had to win the round and do some certain things but it was at least a chance and as a competitor, that’s all you can ask for.
“It couldn’t have ended any better. It was a special night. Winning doesn’t make it harder for me to walk away, it makes it easier because that’s the way I wanted to go out.
“I always thought the first (world title) was the most special. But I don’t think anything will top this.”
Brazile earned $335,679 for 2018. He earned $186,503 in tie-down roping, $100,536 in steer roping and another $48,640 in team roping.
Brazile is the PRCA’s on $6 million cowboy with more than $6.7 million won since turning pro in 1996.
“I feel like I’ve been able to cheat father time a little bit,” Brazile said.
A relentless workout warrior, he is known for his meticulous practices sessions in the arena.
“I’m a living testimony that hard work pays off,” said Brazile. “There are more guys with natural talent out there, I will be the first to admit it. For everybody who is thinking about being a champion in their field, they need to know hard work pays off. It will surpass everything in the end.”
He still plans to compete at some of the bigger rodeos, “And I’ll try to get to about 15 steer ropings,” he said. “I’m not going to be out of rodeo completely.”
Brazile rode a roller-coaster of emotions prior, during and following the NFR. They roiled to the surface while surrounded by media after the 10th round.
“A wise old friend once told me, anybody can be a winner, but not everybody can be a champion,” Brazile said.
As he continued, Brazile briefly bent down to gather himself as the tears began to flow.
“I hope I was as good to rodeo as rodeo was good to me,” he said, standing up again. “It’s been a special ride. Not for only the last 10 days but the last 22 years.”