Trevor Brazile has outworked all others to become the winningest cowboy in history. He’s taken that work ethic to his Relentless line of boots and apparel with Ariat. by Kendra Santos
Trevor Brazile is not the best because he’s bigger and stronger than everybody else. Brazile is the most accomplished rodeo cowboy of all time because he’s outworked all others, and refused to take no—or second best—for an answer. In a word, the winningest cowboy of all time is Relentless.
“It’s always the little details—the things that don’t get left out—that make you a champion,” said the 23-time world titlist and living legend. “That’s what Relentless means to me. We’re combining cowboy know-how with the cutting-edge product innovation Ariat has always been known for. Relentless jeans, shirts, and boots aren’t made to just tolerate the cowboy lifestyle—they’re built to enhance the cowboy lifestyle, and help cowboys perform and look their best.
“I get to obsess on the performance details with a partner whose whole business is devoted to making riders better athletes. Relentless is a spirit of excellence, and I’m pretty proud of that. Good isn’t good enough. So far, this has been an amaz-
ing collaboration. And we’re just getting started. We build these products with the cowboy in mind, and we want to make sure we always have the next best thing.”
Trevor personally test drives Relentless products, so he has hands-on input, start to finish.
“I got the very first pair of Ariat boots I ever wore at the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) one year, and I wore them everyday when I was home practicing—roping in the arena, getting wet at the wash rack, and walking around on cement and in deep sand all day,” said Brazile, who owns countless cowboy versatility records, including the ultimate one with 13 world all-around crowns. “I took those boots everywhere a cowboy goes for a year, and
handed them back to Ariat at the following NFR.
“Quality is critical to me, and I put them to the test. You can tell from our exotic Relentless line that you really can have it all, because they’re a great looking boot that I’ve trusted at the highest level of competition—when world championships were on the line—and they outlast everything on the market.
“We went so far as to build a machine that simulated a cowboy with a boot on sticking his foot in and out of the stirrup thousands of times a day. We gathered data, we tested that data, and we came up with the Ariat Dual Pro® outsole, which incorporates the best of both worlds— leather and rubber—so it fits what we do, and is functional and comfortable. We’re using innovation in the Relentless line that isn’t just a first for Ariat—it’s a first industrywide.”
The denim in Relentless jeans has some “give” to it. Because the material moves with cowboys, they don’t have to sacrifice fit, fashion, or comfort.
“In the past, when cowboys complained about not having enough room in their jeans to do their job, they just bought bigger jeans,” Brazile explained. “We no longer have to make that choice.”
Fabrics used for Relentless shirts also go way above and beyond.
“Relentless is the most technologically advanced product Ariat offers, and using the shirts as an example, it’s not only important to a cowboy to have fabric that’s moisture-wicking and wrinkle-resistant,” Brazile noted. “We don’t stop there. I went to the dermatologist four or five years ago, and learned the hard way that wearing just any long-sleeve shirt out in the sun is not enough. I had to have skin cancer removed from my shoulder. Relentless shirts offer SPF protection also.”
Ariat recently joined forces with the World Series of Team Roping as the popular, powerhouse organization’s title sponsor. Trevor—who has the rare distinction of having won event world titles in tie-down roping, steer roping, and team roping, in addition to his unparalleled all-around championships—was at press time ranked in the Top 15 in both the tie-down roping and steer roping. He and team roping partner Patrick Smith, who won the world together in 2010, were pulling out all the stops to make the NFR cut in that event this year, as well.
“I’ve started it, and I want to finish it,” Brazile said. “I’ve always looked at rodeoing as a season. The first three quarters didn’t go completely according to plan across the board. But the game can be won in the fourth quarter. The only guys who get beat on the backstretch are the ones who quit.”
Despite his superstardom, Brazile is never satisfied with the status quo in or out of the arena. And his selflessness really is remarkable, given his best-ever success.
“The Relentless line is not all about Trevor Brazile,” he said. “It’s about making cowboys better athletes. I’m just a guy who’s passionate about the best of everything, and Ariat has given me the freedom to give them feedback about what cowboys really want. I love that this line crosses over to cowboys of all kinds—every kind of rodeo cowboy, including timed-event cowboys, bull riders and bronc riders; cutters, reiners, and even country music stars, and cowboy fans. The Relentless brand is for every cowboy who wants to look, feel, and perform his best.
“All of this will outlive me. I know what cowboys want and need, and I want
the best for this generation of cowboys and all those to come. There will come a day when I will no longer compete at the highest level of the game, because my body won’t be able to do that anymore. But they’ll never take away my mindset, which is and always will be Relentless.”
Brazile first launched the Relentless brand about a decade ago.
“The Relentless brand was born out of a passion for excellence, and built on the basis of my belief that cowboys deserve the best,” he said. “Making sure they get the best has become my second passion, and that means a lot of attention to detail, never settling, and always striving for more.
“I feel like I just won the round at a big rodeo or roping when I see someone wearing Relentless products. That they have the confidence in what we’re trying to do for cowboys rewards all the hours in the lab and looking over sketches, new fabrics, and leathers. When it’s all said and done, I’d like to say I left things better for cowboys than I found them.
“In any sport, confidence is probably the hardest thing to come by. I want cowboys to be confident in what they’re wearing, and that starts with me. I only put my brand on things I wear myself, because I know they’re the best. I want every other cowboy to look and feel his best, too. I may not be the best at all things, but I feel like my effort has been Relentless in every area of life.”
RELENTLESS BULL RIDER
Ryan Dirteater’s day job may be the most dangerous on the planet. The 29-year-old Cherokee cowboy, who hangs his hat in rural Hulbert, Oklahoma, rides bulls for a living. He’s headed to his 10th Professional Bull Riders World Finals—which he won in 2016 to cap a half-million-dollar year—in Las Vegas this fall.
Whether he’s busy earning 93.25 championship points on D&H Cattle Company’s notorious bull Bruiser, like he did at the PBR tour stop in Oklahoma City earlier this year, riding on the ranch, or team roping, Dirteater is all Relentless all the time.
“Trevor’s the king of the cowboys, and he designed the Relentless line right— look good, feel good, perform good,” Dirteater said. “Nobody knows more about winning than Trevor, and he designed these jeans, shirts, and boots right for competing. I ride bulls in knee braces, so I’m not easy to fit. These jeans feel so good, I could hit the gym in them. They go perfect with my Ariat tennis shoes. I always wear Ariat, but I always rope in Relentless.”
That’s right, when his hand’s not in a bull rope on the back of a fire-breathing Brahma, the world-class bull rider loves to team rope. Dirteater’s a #6 header and a 7-plus heeler.
“I’ve roped since I started to walk,” he said. “I roped a lot before I started riding bulls. We were team roping all the time, and when I was 11 or 12, I started riding the roping steers. That’s how my bull riding career got started. Now roping is my hobby, and I love it. We typically rope twice a week, depending on the weather.
“My dad (Randy), my buddy Matt Jones, and me put on team roping jackpots on the weekends. They’re little, local jackpots, and good warmups for the World Series and USTRC ropings. Matt’s brother, Mike, and me qualified for the #12 and #13 ropings at the World Series Finale in Vegas in 2012. We didn’t win anything, but it was a fun experience, and I want to go back. There’s not a bigger, better team roping than the
World Series finals. That’s where the big money’s at. It’s good, and it’s growing. Now to be Relentless about returning to Vegas as more than a bull rider.”
RELENTLESS MUSIC MAN
Country music sensation Casey Donahew wows crowds on a different cowboy stage than Brazile and Dirteater. But he has a whole lot more in common with Trevor than being a 41-year-old native Texan and a supreme cowboy success story. Donahew, too, is Relentless.
“The music business isn’t a talent contest,” said the namesake of the popular Casey Donahew Band. “A lot of people have talent. It’s the people who work harder than everyone else who make it. If it was a talent contest, we wouldn’t be here. We traveled further, longer, and on less sleep than they did to get our music out there. We were Relentless.
“Some people who are crazy talented don’t work hard enough to take it to the next level. That holds true across all sports, and it’s true in the music business, too. I talk to a lot of young people in my travels, and my best advice to them is to outwork everybody else. If success was that easy, I’d just sell the formula and stay home.”
Yes, Donahew shares Brazile’s work ethic and humility. He also shares a passion for Brazile’s sport and lifestyle. Donahew raises cattle on a ranch in West Texas, and team ropes in his spare time.
“Me and my bass player, Steve Stone, are going to rope in the #8 roping at the World Series of Team Roping Finale in Vegas this December,” Donahew said. “We’re both #4 ropers. I usually heel, but Steve (who also owns the Bucking Horse Breeders Association) doesn’t head. So I’ll be heading for him. I’m hoping to get to rope in the #9 roping also.”
It’s been tough to find much time to rope around his hectic music schedule. But Donahew and his wife and manager, Melinda, have two little boys who already have the roping bug.
“I see more horses, trucks, and trailers in my near future,” he said with a great, big grin. “Rodeo and country music seem to intertwine. The rodeo communi- ty is kind of our home base. We’re trying to keep it real for the real cowboys out there. Relentless keeps it real for me, on the ranch or out there on that stage.
“I don’t have any crazy dance moves, but I do like the way the Relentless jeans move with you. They fit right and feel right—even a skinny guy with no butt, who has a hard time finding jeans that fit him. And the boots are the best. My worst fear is falling on stage, and it’s never happened, thanks to these Relentless Boots. They’re comfortable, they look cool, and they’re as functional on stage as they are in the saddle.”
Trevor Brazile could have played the celebrity card, signed his name to some boots and clothes, and collected the royalties. But being average at anything is not in the Relentless one’s DNA. Bra- zile works tirelessly—hands on—behind the scenes and in the cutting-edge Ariat technology lab to make sure his brand is the best, and stays out front in terms of comfort, fit, style, and durability.
Brazile works closely with members of the Ariat design team, both in the lab and in the field. Hollin Norwood is Ariat’s Director of Design on the footwear side.
“I’ve worked closely with Trevor on every piece of footwear that we’ve built for the Relentless collection,” Norwood said. “We wanted to bring him in for the entire design process, which meant that we showed him multiple rounds of sketches, all the way through color renderings of boots, sample leathers, prototypes, and pattern trials—everything. “Trevor’s been the best at his game for a long time, and he absolutely expects everything he’s associated with to also be the best. That’s a pretty exciting
space to be in as a designer. I’ve worked with a lot of different folks—athletes, celebrities, and other industry VIPs—and working with Trevor is really the most rewarding experience. He’s committed to a long-term plan of building a brand that is synonymous with excellence and performance, and his vision is remarkable.”
Scott Molina serves as Ariat’s Men’s Western and Work Apparel Product Manager.
“Trevor and I have collaborated on Relentless Apparel since its inception in 2017,” Molina said. “We wanted to create a line of apparel that was focused on performance, so it really started with how Trevor uses his apparel both in the arena when he’s competing and also outside the arena, when he’s working out and doing all the things he does to prepare for competition. We had Trevor in both real-world and lab-based environments, where he was hooked up to heat, pressure, and motion sensors, while also being tracked on video. All of the data and information that came out of these tests is really what led to the design and technologies that you see in Relentless apparel today.
“Trevor provides direction and feedback on every detail, including how he thinks certain fabrics might translate for the Relentless customer. As just one example, Trevor once helped navigate away from using a particular fabric, because he felt it would be a ‘hay magnet’ for anyone spending time around the barn or arena. He wants to be sure that we’re providing the fabrics, design, technology, and functionality that’s going to make a cowboy’s life easier and more comfortable, that also keeps him looking and performing his best. Trevor is always competitive about having the latest and greatest technologies and fabrics in the Relentless line.”
Trevor’s fierce competitive side surprises no one. Understandably, his unwavering humility and unyielding, non-stop work ethic surprise some at this stage of his game.
“It’s easy to forget sometimes when working with Trevor that you’re talking to a 23-time world champion,” Molina said. “He’s so down to earth and approachable that it makes it incredibly easy to strike up conversations with him and run product ideas by him. In our quest to stay true to our customers’ needs and lifestyle, which Trevor shares, he helps support cutting-edge innovation, while making sure we maintain our authenticity and value. Who better to represent cowboys in Relentless fashion than the Michael Jordan of Rodeo?”
Trevor Brazile is the winningest rodeo cowboy of all time, and is never satisfied with the status quo. He’s been involved in every detail of Ariat’s Relentless line of jeans, shirts, and boots from the beginning, because, “Qualify is critical to me. It’s about making cowboys better athletes. The Relentless brand is for every cowboy who wants to look, feel, and perform his best.”
The Relentless one never settles for less than his very best in any of life’s arenas.
PBR bull riding superstar Ryan Dirteater always wears Ariat, but always ropes in Relentless.
Country star Casey Donahew has been Relentless in his work ethic and commitment to authentic cowboy music.
Ariat’s Director of Design Hollin Norwood has worked closely with Brazile on Relentless Boots since day one, and admires the cowboy icon’s unyielding dedication to detail and excellence.