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Trevor Brazile

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Trevor Brazile fin­ished 2017 39th in the PRCA world head­ing stand­ings with $36,420 won with heeler Pa­trick Smith. The show­ing was his worst since 2005, de­spite a WNFR qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the tie-down rop­ing and a steer-rop­ing fi­nals qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Brazile is known for preach­ing short mem­o­ries, but he has been care­ful to eval­u­ate what hap­pened in 2017 to be sure it doesn’t hap­pen again. He and Smith are geared up for 2018, mak­ing big ad­just­ments to their prac­tice sched­ules and time bud­get­ing while fac­ing the hard re­al­ity of surgery for a nag­ging in­jury. Chelsea Shaf­fer

Q: Reflecting on 2017, what hap­pened in the team rop­ing and why?

A: Over­all, I can say I do three events, and I didn’t start off well in any of them. That’s dif­fer­ent. Usu­ally I’m used to one not work­ing at any cer­tain time and fix­ing that as I go. It started off just bad. It wasn’t that we didn’t get in to the big­ger win­ter rodeos—if you’re do­ing bad at the other

ones, you’d do bad at the good ones, too. I have to fight my­self off from us­ing ex­cuses. There are a lot of things that come to mind, but even when things looked good there were things that I could have done bet­ter. The less I use the ex­cuses, the quicker I get back to where I want to be. Q: 'id you feel like you did every- thing you could have in the prac­tice pen?

A: Def­i­nitely not as much as in years past. I found a way to jus­tify it through in­juries I think. I felt like if I prac­ticed the way I used to prac­tice, I wouldn’t have been able to fin­ish the year out. I went back and forth with that, and I think it’s a fine line in there. You don’t have a crys­tal ball and you don’t know what ex­tra prac­tice would do un­til it’s too late. I’ve been putting off an el­bow surgery that I need to get done no mat­ter what this year. I’ve put it off since 2014. I’m try­ing to find a time in there where you can do it. That’s the one thing about what we do—it’s hard to take time off. You can’t rodeo by phone when you’re hurt. Q: 'es­cribe the feel­ing of watch­ing Tuf win the all-around. Can you weigh

the per­cent­age of you that was dis­ap­pointed you didn't win it, ver­sus the per­cent­age that was ex­cited for him?

A: I was so ex­cited for him. It seems like at times I had to talk him into do­ing ex­tra events. I knew he knew it took away from his tie-down some. It’s the price you pay and you learn you have to let it take away less and less.

When you have a year like I had, which was barely bet­ter than 2005 in my opin­ion—I was dis­gusted with my year more than the out­come. I could have won the all-around and won what­ever, but I judge my­self on op­por­tu­nity. The last few years, the bar has been raised to $500-some-thou­sand, and I fell $200-some-thou­sand short of that. I felt in my mind that if I’m be­ing hon­est, I didn’t de­serve to win it that year. I rodeo for a world cham­pi­onship in every event that I do. Q: How much re-eval­u­at­ing have you done head­ing into the new sea­son? A: Me and Pa­trick had a meet­ing about it just yes­ter­day—what do we do? We have to make the ef­fort to prac­tice to­gether more. Not just prac­tice—prac­tice to­gether. Every year we have big­ger fam­i­lies or the oil­field ser­vice com­pany, or the Re­lent­less line that I’m work­ing on—it all takes time. I want to do all those things well. But at the end of the day, the re­source that’s lack­ing is time. We need to not rodeo for con­ve­nience, we need to be rodeo­ing to win. The dis­tance is about an hour and a half be­tween us. It doesn’t sound that far, and it never sounded far to me, un­til we do have all the irons in the fire. We have three kids, we have base­ball, we have basketball. Then all of a sud­den it sounds like an im­pos­si­ble task. But, I have an in­door arena that tips the scales my di­rec­tion a lot. So he has to come over when it’s wet in Texas. Q: How many head of prac­tice steers do you have at any given time? A: I think I have 25. I’ve been buy­ing real Mex­i­cans and, man, it’s nice. I’ve never roped Mex­i­cans in my ca­reer, and it’s awe­some. I al­ways get mine from Matt Sanchez. I want them to have pretty horns, and he has them. I don’t want them just to have an M brand. I want them to have a wow fac­tor on their horns. I started that get­ting ready for the Fi­nals. You couldn’t find any­thing with that kind of horns.

Q: What's your av­er­age prac­tice like?

A: That’s some­thing that will get changed in 2018. There was never an av­er­age day. I’ve al­ways worked on my­self and made sure my horses were that much bet­ter than ev­ery­body else’s. In the calf rop­ing, I’m al­ways rop­ing around Tuf, Clif, and Clint (Cooper). I see them all the time. I guess I have taken that for granted as far as how much that con­trib­uted to my suc­cess. It made me prac­tice at a higher level. It didn’t let me just go make dust. Pa­trick and I de­cided that it’s not enough for us to prac­tice to­gether any­more. I need to prac­tice with a great header. I need to see some­body who keeps me out of my com­fort zone. Just like I tell my stu­dents—you bet­ter not be the best per­son in the prac­tice pen or you’re only mak­ing ev­ery­body else bet­ter. I’m tak­ing my own ad­vice this year, and I want to get around bet­ter head­ers. I want to get around guys who do it for a liv­ing. That’s prob­a­bly the thing I got the most out of in my meet­ing with Pa­trick. I want a con­glom­er­ate. Just like the way I started. I want to go and see what ev­ery­body does good. Not ev­ery­body does the same thing good. When it’s in that kind of dy­namic, we can draw off each other. No­body is re­ally losing. It’s one of those things where the high tide raises all ships.

Q: How busy do your Re­lent­less brands keep you?

A: That has be­come one of my pas­sions. It’s one of those things, like rodeo. You’ll never be done get­ting bet­ter. I con­stantly want to give ropers the best op­por­tu­nity to win. It’s also do­ing what I do and con­stantly test­ing prod­ucts. It goes hand in hand. The de­sign­ing takes more time and travel. I can’t hold a phone to my ear that long be­cause of my el­bow, so I got Air­Pods that have helped. Be­ing on the phone gets old, but if you know you’re headed to­ward bet­ter prod­ucts and ev­ery­thing is get­ting bet­ter be­cause of it, it’s a nec­es­sary evil. 2018 has to be a bet­ter time-bud­get­ing year with all of it.

Q: Open ropers some­times get a bad rap. What do you think ropers and pro­duc­ers can do to work bet­ter to­gether?

A: That’s a good ques­tion. I’m not a big every-time-jack­pot­ter. I don’t know ex­actly who is get­ting paid what and where. That doesn’t sit and burn my guts like it does other guys. It takes away from their abil­ity to win when they do that. From the out­side look­ing in, I think that those two groups are nec­es­sary in build­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of team ropers. If those young guys and girls don’t have that icon to as­pire to be, I feel like you can’t build an in­dus­try on that. You can’t build an ama­teur basketball league with­out the NBA. There’s got to be the lad­der that goes up. But my hat is off to every pro­ducer. It’s a spe­cial per­son who can deal with the pub­lic. Ev­ery­one has prob­lems and ev­ery­one wants to tell them to you. I know how many pro­duc­ers there are, and we re­ally need them.

{ Vi­tal Stats } AGE: 41 ROPE: Xplo­sion XS by Cac­tus Ropes WNFR QUAL­I­FI­CA­TIONS: 50 WORLD TI­TLES: 23 PART­NER: Pa­trick Smith HOME: De­catur, Texas EARN­INGS: $6,427,241

BRAZILE WILL COUNT ON 17-YEAR-OLD BOO­GIE AGAIN IN 2018, ALONG WITH 16-YEAR-OLD BANKER AND 9-YEAR-OLD JV.

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