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Brazile adds to all-around lead

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Though Trevor Brazile entered this month’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas leading the world all-around title race, the legendary cowboy said he must rope aggressively throughout the 10-day rodeo in order to claim the coveted gold buckle.

“You have to execute once you get out to Vegas,” he said.

Brazile has earned $44,423 in the 2017 NFR’s first two rounds in tie-down roping.

He tied for second in Thursday’s opening round after turning in a time of 7.9 seconds to earn $18,192. The next night, Brazile won the second round with a time of 7.4 to pocket $26,231.

After the first two performances, Brazile was first in the all-around race with $298,183. Tuf Cooper, a former Decatur resident who now lives in Weatherford, was ranked second with $240,022.

Cooper failed to finish in the money in tie-down roping during the first two NFR performances.

Brazile entered this month’s event with the lead in the all-around race after thriving at last month’s National Finals Steer Roping in Mulvane, Kan.

Though Brazile fell short in his attempt to clinch the 2017 world steer roping title, the 23-time world champion earned enough prize money to take the lead in the all-around race. He earned $63,273 in Mulvane to bring his haul for the year to $253,760 after the $10,000 bonus all NFR contestants received.

Brazile, 41, who lives in Decatur, finished second in the steer roping behind Scott Snedecor.

Cooper dropped to second in the all-around race after earning a $15,981 at Mulvane. Cooper arrived at the NFR with $240,022 in earnings.

The NFR runs through Saturday at Las Vegas’ Thomas and Mack Center.

Both Brazile and Cooper are competing in tie-down roping as they each attempt to win the world all-around title. Brazile is attempting to snare his 14th all-around world title. Cooper is attempting to secure his first all-around buckle.

As Brazile competes against Cooper at the NFR, it’s a family affair. Cooper is Brazile’s brother-in-law. Brazile’s wife, Shada, a former NFR barrel racing qualifier, is Cooper’s half-sister.

With all that in mind, Brazile said he and Cooper have a friendly rivalry. Brazile said if he falls short of winning the title, he would like to see it go to Cooper.

“If I didn’t win it, I would not rather anybody else win it,” Brazile said.

CUTTING HORSE UPDATE

Austin Shepard and a young stallion named Dual Reyish clinched the National Cutting Horse Association World Championship Futurity open division title after turning in a lofty final round score of 228 on Sunday night at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

The victory earned the horse’s owner, Billy Wolf of Whitesboro, the coveted $192,762 prize.

Shepard, who is from Summerdale, Ala., said Dual Reyish has the essential elements of an outstanding cutting horse.

“He’s one of the nicest horses that I’ve brought here,” Shepard said. “He does everything that I want a horse to do physically and mentally, but he has a confidence about him that comes naturally. He’s really mature for a 3-year-old.”

Lee Francois and a stallion named The Animal finished as reserve champion after turning in a 225.5. Owners Richard and Beth Carney pocketed $169,404.

The Futurity, the sport’s most prestigious show, features the industry’s most promising debuting 3-year-old horses. The Futurity also is the first jewel of the sport’s Triple Crown Series. The other two jewels are the April Super Stakes and the July Summer Spectacular. All three events are in Fort Worth.

Shepard’s victory last weekend was his second at the renowned show. In 2007, he clinched the title aboard High Brow CD.

It was the second major title that Shepard has won at the NCHA show this month. On Dec. 2, Shepard and a 6-year-old mare named Deluxe Checks clinched the 2017 open division world title. Shepard and Deluxe Checks earned $23,777 during the World Finals and broke the NCHA’s open division annual earnings record with $146,977 throughout 2017.

Shepard and Deluxe Checks broke the previous annual earnings record of $142,346 that was set in 2015 by Special Nu Baby and rider Matt Gaines of Weatherford.

At the 2017 NCHA Futurity on Friday, Chad Bushaw of Weatherford clinched the non-pro title after turning in a finals score of 225 aboard a 3-year-old filly named Bittersweet. Bushaw earned $61,162.

It was Bushaw’s second NCHA Futurity non-pro title. He also won in 2001 aboard a horse named Jerryoes.

Friday was a busy day for the Bushaw family. Chad Bushaw’s son, Charles, tied for seventh in the Unlimited Amateur finals on Friday after turning in a 214 on a filly named Snappcat. The younger Bushaw earned $9,462.

RECORD BROKEN TWICE

The National Finals Rodeo’s barrel racing arena record at the Thomas and Mack Center was broken twice during Saturday’s third round.

Kassie Mowery broke the record with a run of 13.36, which eclipsed the arena record of 13.37. Shortly afterward, Hailey Kinsel established a mark of 13.11.

In an interview with prorodeo.com at the NFR on Saturday, Kinsel said she knew something special might be happening as she and her horse, Sister, ran the cloverleaf pattern.

“Sister was a little different than normal tonight,” Kinsel said. “She felt a little bit more focused than ever. I felt like she was going to do something good. I mean, I didn’t know it was going to be that good. She smoked the first barrel and then she smoked the second, and I sat up and rode my third good, so I can take a little credit there, but I let her work and I don’t know what else to say. This is one night I sure won’t forget.”

Though Kinsel stole Mowery’s thunder, she praised Mowery for turning in a blistering time.

“I can’t downplay what Kassie did,” Kinsel said. “That was a smoking run. We know from record books that it was an awesome run. … I mean, Ivy Conrado ran a 13.59 and any other night that might win the round. So, smoking runs by everybody. Hats off to the ground crew. They help us out a lot.”

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos for more than three decades for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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