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Monday, Dec 13th, 2010

NFR Wrap Up

Brazile earns half a million with his rope in 2010

After having sewn up his record eighth world all-around title during the second round of the Wrangler NFR (Ty Murray was on hand to congratulate him for breaking his record), Trevor Brazile won world championships in both the tie-down roping and team roping, as well, to earn rodeo’s coveted “triple crown” for all-around contenders -- for the second time.

Brazile and fellow Texan Patrick Smith placed second in the average in team roping to move from eighth to first in the world. Both set new season earnings records (Brazile’s being $201,392), while Brazile also won the average in tie-down roping to earn his third world title in that event in four years with $233,827.

In all, Brazile not only laid claim to three gold buckles in one year (for the second time), but earned the keys to a 2011 Dodge Ram truck for being the high-money competitor at the NFR this year with $211,509 (a record for the most money won at one rodeo).

Only Jim Shoulders and Everett Bowman have won three gold buckles at a time, twice. With his $507,921 earned on the year, Brazile also became the first contestant in pro rodeo history to crack half a million dollars in a single season.

“It means so much to me, because I think everything has got so specialized,” said Brazile, who now has a total of 14 world titles. “Nobody shows up and does three events on the same horse anymore, because it’s so competitive.”

In bareback riding, Bobby Mote moved from fifth to first place to claim his fourth world title after finishing second in the average behind Justin McDaniel. Mote, of Culver, Ore., won two rounds and placed in seven to earn $204,484 on the year, while McDaniel, the 2008 world champion from Oklahoma, won the average with a 10-head total of 836.5 points.

In steer wrestling, Dean Gorsuch of Gering, Neb., won his second world title in that event with $186,477 and split the average title with Billy Bugenig of Fortuna, Calif., who had a great showing at his first NFR to bank $69,201.

Roping champs from the 1970s including Joe Parsons, Paul Hughes and Roy Cooper all had kids at the Big Show this year. Talk about a family affair. Not only that, but there were 14 guys at this year’s NFR with brothers there, too.

Luke Brown, of Rock Hill, S.C., put on a heading clinic at the NFR competing with veteran heeler Martin Lucero. Brown has roped at three NFRs now, but the biggest win of the 36-year-old’s career came when he and Lucero were the only team to catch all 10 steers, earning $89,255 apiece. Luke roped perfect, and Martin’s only mistakes were roping a leg in the first and fifth rounds.

Favorites Chad Masters and Jade Corkill had a rough week despite winning the 10th round (they managed sixth in the average). Another strong team was 29-year-old Caleb Twisselman from Santa Margarita, Calif., roping at his third NFR, and Southeastern header Kevin Daniel, who were threats to eventual world champs Brazile and Smith as they placed third in the average.

The saddle bronc riding featured two of several sets of brothers competing at the 2010 Finals, including Cody and Jesse Wright (Jesse had been 16th but became eligible when Rod Hay doctor-released).

Cody won a head-to-head battle against Wade Sundell to earn his second saddle bronc riding gold buckle by winning the average with a record 847 points to finish the year with $247,579 and set a new record for NFR earnings at $148,287.

“Hopefully, I can win more than two championships,” Cody said. “I think three would feel even better, so we’re going to keep going.”

Cody, 33, is the eldest of seven brothers and has been to eight NFRs. Jesse and Jake Wright are twins; Jake won the national high school championship in 2007 and their other brother, Spencer Wright, won it in 2008. In Vegas for the first time, Jesse placed in eight of nine rounds after bucking off his first horse to place fifth in the average and the world!

Heith DeMoss won the NFR’s round 10 in style with an 87.5-point ride on Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe, while his brother, Cody, was third in the world and third in the average at the NFR with 828 points on 10 head.

In calf roping, former world champ Cody Ohl came back into his own to win or split four of 10 rounds and earn $78,239, while Tuf Cooper was the reserve average and world champ in Las Vegas, banking an event-best $96,599. Tuf was one of three sons of Hall-of-Famer Roy Cooper’s that qualified for the NFR in 2010.

In barrel racing, Sherry Cervi stole the show, claiming her third gold buckle by winning second in the average and setting a new arena record (13.49 seconds) in one of three go-round wins to earn $299,894 on the season, including more than $120,000 in Las Vegas. Jill Moody of Letcher, S.D., won the average in 138.26 seconds to break Charmayne James’ 14-year-old record and earn an event-best $133,035.

In bull riding, J.W. Harris became the first since Don Gay (1979-81) to win three consecutive world championships after clinching the average title. He scored more points than anyone had since 1996, and Harris was the first bull rider to cover eight bulls at the NFR since B.J. Schumacher did it in 2006. He earned $246,541 on the season.