Brazile rewrites history with sixth Pendleton Round-Up all-around title

By Annie Fowler

East Oregonian

The Pendleton Round-Up is steeped in history, but there’s always room for more.

Saturday, 23-time world champion roper Trevor Brazile won his record sixth all-around title, surpassing the legendary Yakima Canutt, who has five trophies.

“That’s what I love about this rodeo — its history,” Brazile said. “It is so well documented. You’ve got to respect the rodeo with its tradition and heritage. It’s so neat. I just love it. It’s unapologetic of what we do here. A lot of stuff changes, but the Pendleton Round-Up doesn’t.”

Canutt, who won his first all-around title in 1917, also won titles in saddle bronc and steer wrestling. He won four all-around trophies and one Roosevelt trophy, which went to the top earner in the Round-Up and Cheyenne Frontier Days combined.

Years from now, Brazile will be in the same conversation as Canutt.

“If they talk about watching me, they watched me have fun,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to live my life, and the group of people we live it around in this industry. It’s just really special.”

Brazile, 41, earned money in tie-down roping, team roping and steer roping, where he finished second overall to Chris Glover by less than one second.

Brazile was in line for the steer roping title, but after he roped his steer, it turned into a crowd of photographers. He flipped his rope over the photographers, maneuvered the steer away, and continued on.

“I could have had one single (title) today, but I would have had to kill a couple of cameramen to do it,” he said. “I chose their lives over my saddle.”

Brazile, who won his first Pendleton all-around title in 1999, said the winning never gets old.

“There are things that do get old in the sport,” he said. “The travel, late night drives, dealing with injuries, ourselves and horses. Just stuff you have to get over. But going to great rodeos and the National Finals Rodeo never gets old.”

And Pendleton, with its 18,000 fans per day, ranks right up there with his favorites.

“The crowd is very comparable to the NFR,” he said. “They love it. It’s fun to compete in front of them. I’ve got a lot of good friends in this town and I’ve made a lot of good relationships. It’s just a really fun place. I look forward to coming every year.”

He also appreciates the tradition of putting the champions’ names on the back wall of the arena.

“It’s always cool to have your name up there,” he said. “That’s what’s so great about this rodeo. It’s not what have you done for me lately, it’s great right now. When you pull back into town, they don’t forget their past champions, and that’s cool. I always have friends come in just to watch this rodeo because of the mystique and the tradition that goes along with it.”

The second-place finish in steer roping won’t hurt Brazile’s place in the world standings. He’s qualified for the NFR 50 times between tie-down, team roping and steer roping, and has won more than $6.4 million. This year, he will add two more qualifications to his list of accomplishments with tie-down and steer roping.

But just because he’s punched his ticket to the NFR, it doesn’t mean he is done until December.

“I’m fixing to get on a private plane and be in Albuquerque, N.M., at 7 a.m. (Sunday),” Brazile said. “I’ll still go until Sept. 30.”

And, he’ll continue to make the trek to Pendleton, even after he retires.

“I love this place,” he said. “When I’m done, I will at least come here.”

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