Video courtesy Graney Family
There have been many great onscreen cowboys over the years. John Wayne. Clint Eastwood. Sam Elliot. These are just a few Hollywood stars who have donned big-brimmed cowboy hats to entertain fans of Western movies. Trevor Brazile also wears a cowboy hat. But there's a big difference between Brazile and the actors—Brazile is a real cowboy. Fans might even say he is the greatest cowboy in history. Recently, he took home his eighth all-around world championship at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR), in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is the first person to win eight of the prized gold buckles.
Practice Makes Perfect
Brazile lives with his family on a 100-acre ranch in Decatur, Texas. He has earned his championship titles by competing in tie-down, steer and team-roping events. Brazile is so serious about his craft that he had an arena built on his ranch with the same dimensions as the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, where the NFR is held each December.
Brazile practices every day, and it has certainly paid off. He has earned more than $3.3 million in career earnings competing in the rodeo. "I love being able to make a living doing what I love to do," Brazile told TFK. "Winning makes it that much better. I work my tail off every year, because I have so much respect for my competition."
What would he do if he weren't a cowboy? "I would be doing another sport," he says. "I love competition." But, he adds, "The hardest part [about this line of work] is the miles. We travel a lot and it takes a toll on our bodies."
A Cowboy for All Time
Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Dean Oliver thinks Brazile could have succeeded in any era of the sport. "Trevor would have been fine back then," said Oliver, who won five straight all-around titles in the early 1960s. "He could win in any era. Oh, golly, there have been a lot of great cowboys. But Trevor is good in all three of his events, not just one."
Before last December's NFR, Ty Murray was considered by many to be the best cowboy around. Murray even holds the nickname, "King of the Cowboys." He has won seven all-around titles in events such as bareback, saddle-bronc and bull riding. He is also the one cowboy Brazile looks up to the most. "Ty Murray is one of my heroes and always will be," Brazile said.
But who's the toughest cowboy? For Brazile, it's John Wayne's rugged onscreen alter ego. "John Wayne was tougher than me," Brazile said. "Nobody can go against the Duke."