Riders vie for world title

Several Wise County riders are chasing a world title this week as the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals gets underway in Las Vegas.

Brazilians Fabiano Vieira and Silvano Alves, who call Wise County home, are within 511 and 516 points, respectively, of the No. 1 ranked rider, Joao Ricardo Vieira.

J. Vieira was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and is on a hot streak, having ridden seven of his last nine bulls in the last three events. He took over the No. 1 post five weeks ago and sits atop the board with 9,520.25 points.

Vieira recently won in Allentown, Penn., going three-for-three and moving 785 points closer to No. 1, despite having an injured shoulder. He leads the BFTS with a 57.75 riding percentage.

Alves, in third, is seeking his third PBR world title. He made history in 2012 when he became the first world champion to win back-to-back titles. His riding percentage is 51.16.

Mike Lee of Decatur is the only other local rider in the top 10, and he’s currently ranked No. 5, 1,433.44 points behind the leader.

Lee started the second half of the BFTS with great momentum, winning both outdoor events – Thackerville, Okla., and Laughlin, Nev. He then fell off his game for four events, failing to register a qualified ride.

His ride in Huntington Beach, Calif., last weekend at the Bulls on the Beach event was his first success since Laughlin.

Other Wise County riders among the 35 finalists are Marco Eguchi (11); Valdiron de Oliveira (13); Emilio Resende (14); and Renato Nunes (19).

The action kicks off today and runs through Sunday at the Thomas and Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. To advance through the rounds, the riders must rank in the Top 15 in the event average after each round.

The World Finals offers a total purse of $2.2 million, including a $1 million bonus to the world champion, who also receives the coveted world champion belt buckle.

The champion will be the rider who has accumulated the most Built Ford Tough Series points during the 2014 regular season and the World Finals.

There are a potential 5,500 points available at the World Finals, so most of the top-ranked riders have a shot at the title.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast every round live at 8 p.m. Oct. 22-25 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 26. For information, visit worldfinals.pbr.com.

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Rodeo: Wilson, team capture titles

With Chase Wilson winning the steer wrestling, the Decatur squad won a team title at North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Wilson made his run in 5.102 seconds to take first place. Camerron Tucker took third in 14.448.

Jake Cobb finished third in calf roping with a time of 14.770. He also had a third place in team roping as the heeler and ninth place in ribbon roping.

Carolyn Spear took fifth in breakaway roping in 17.941. She also garnered fourth in steer undecorating in 1.627.

Chase Gasperson was sixth in team roping as the heeler with a time of 14.512.

Dominic Head finished eighth in chute dogging in 4 seconds.

Alvord’s Tanner Baker won the ribbon roping with a run of 8.354. Baker finished second as the heeler in team roping, completing his run in 7.316. Baker took the rookie cowboy award.

Mikayla Cox was eighth in walk-up goat tying in 9.113. In goat tying, Cox was sixth in 10.607. She finished seventh in barrels, making her run in 19.243. Cox earned rookie cowgirl honors.

Paradise’s Paitane Brown finished fifth in steer undecorating in 2.345. Brown took fourth as the header in team roping in 12.265. Ty Meals was sixth in heading with a run of 14.512.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the chute dogging in 2.657. Eliesha Hobbs was third in walk-up goat tying with a time of 7.830. Alexis Barfield completed her run in poles in 22.258 for fifth. Bullrider Tyler Davenport scored a 50 for second.

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Rodeo: Decatur wrestles in top spots

Led by Chase Wilson, Decatur cowboys swept the top three spots in steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event last weekend.

Decatur won the high-point award as a team, behind the strong performance in steer wrestling.

Wilson needed just 4.401 seconds to complete his run. Dillan McGuire took second in 7.752. Camerron Tucker was third in 10.891.

Chase Gasperson turned in the top performance as a header in team roping, taking 9.317 seconds. Jake Cobb was eighth in 14.461.

Carolyn Spear took second in barrels with her run of 16.316.

Seth Cone placed seventh in calf roping with a run of 26.249.

Alvord’s Olivia Parr took seventh in breakaway in 5.739.

In steer undecorating, Paradise’s Majia Bennett finished third in 1.872. Paitane Brown was fourth in 2.631, and Taylor Carwile fifth in 2.713.

Paradise’s Ty Meals had the top time as a heeler in team roping with a 9.317. He finished second in ribbon roping in 7.64 seconds to earn the rookie cowboy honor.

Alvord’s Tyler Griggs was ninth in team roping as a heeler in 16.337.

Northwest’s Grady Payne won the chute dogging in 2.558. Teammate Cole Gerrek was third in 2.756, and Tyler Norton seventh in 3.293. Decatur’s Dominic Head finished fourth in 2.954, and Jacob McLeod sixth in 3.24.

Northwest’s Alexis Barfield was eighth in poles in 21.78.

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Rodeo: Tucker wrestles up win in 6.8 seconds

Decatur cowboy Camerron Tucker needed just 6.8 seconds to complete his winning run Saturday in steer wrestling at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association event.

Tucker led a trio of Decatur cowboys Saturday. Dillan McGuire finished third in 13.2, and Chase Wilson fourth in 17.182.

Northwest’s Trinton Barfield took second in 8.415.

In chute dogging, Nicholas Martinez brought home second in 2.782. Northwest’s Cole Gerrek was third in 2.849, and Decatur’s Wilson fourth in 2.958. Decatur’s Jacob McLeod finished ninth in 4.906.

Decatur’s Jake Cobb took third in ribbon roping in 9.267. Alvord’s Tanner Baker was fourth in 10.237, finishing a spot ahead of Decatur’s Lawson Harris in 11.766.

Cobb also was third in calf roping with a run of 13.383. Baker finished fifth in 14.404. Harris took seventh in 16.942.

Baker was fourth as the header in team roping with a time of 18.397. Paradise’s Paitane Brown took second in team roping as the heeler in 14.32.

Baker finished as the top rookie cowboy with 140 points.

Alvord’s Mikayla Cox garnered sixth in steer undecorating in 2.653 seconds. Decatur’s Carolyn Spear was eighth in 3.607.

Northwest’s Eliesha Hobbs finished eighth in walk-up goat tying in 8.505.

Boyd’s Treavor Hadden O’Neal scored a 64 to take second in bull riding.

The Decatur squad was the top scoring team with 504 points.

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Rodeo: Wilson captures pair of wins

Before the home crowd at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s stop in Decatur, Chase Wilson won the steer wrestling and chute dogging.

Wilson turned in times of 5.782 in steer wrestling, and 2.672 in chute dogging.

Holding On

HOLDING ON – Keller Central’s Justin Maze-McLane tries to stay on a bucking bronc during the bareback event at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s event in Decatur. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Wilson, who is sixth in the standings for all-around cowboy, leads the steer wrestling season race and is third in chute dogging.

Cameron Tucker finished second to Wilson in steer wrestling with a 7.024.

Nicholas Martinez was second in chute dogging with a 2.756. Dominic Head was eighth in the event, and Randal Burrier 10th.

Carolyn Spear took seventh in steer undecorating with a time of 14.235.

Alvord’s Olivia Parr was second in the breakaway in 3.663, taking top rookie cowgirl at the event.

Tanner Baker finished fourth in ribbon roping in 9.786, and fifth in team roping as the heeler in 18.634. Mikayla Cox was fourth in barrels in 16.689, and 10th in goat tying with an 11.525.

Paradise’s Majia Bennett took fourth in steer undecorating, recording a 2.323. Ty Meals came away fifth in ribbon roping in 9.798. Paitane Brown turned in a time of 10.907 for 10th in walk-up goat tying.

In team roping as the header, Brown was second in 10.945. Meals took third in 12.2, and Carson Tucker fifth in 18.634. Meals took rookie cowboy honors.

Tyler Clemens-Edwards of Paradise was second in bull riding with 51 points.

Northwest’s Eliesha Hobbs finished fifth in walk-up goat tying in 9.713. Preston Clark was seventh in chute dogging in 3.276. Alexis Barfield took fourth in poles in 21.984.

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Roping wins: Wise trio bring home crowns at Cheyenne

At one of the world’s most prestigious rodeos, Wise County cowboys brought home three of the seven titles.

Trevor Brazile, Jarrett Blessing and K.C. Jones all won titles at the 118th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming.

Tying Up a Win

TYING UP A WIN – Jarrett Blessing ropes a steer at the 118th Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Blessing won the steer roping at the prestigious rodeo. It was one of three titles won by Wise County cowboys. CFD photo by Dan Hubbell

“It was the perfect storm with three of the seven champions being from here,” Brazile said. “It’s amazing for such a small area. It was cool to watch. After Jarrett and I won, my wife, Shada, pointed out that we had a chance for the three titles. K.C. then came through and won steer wrestling.”

Brazile captured the tie-down roping title. The world’s most decorated cowboy put together an aggregate time of 37.1 to take first place and pocket $22,699.49 in winnings.

Brazile made runs of 12.6, 12.1 and 12.4.

“There’s so much tradition there. I remember watching my dad and all my heroes roping there,” Brazile said. “Anyone who grew up in rodeo, it’s one you want to win.”

It was Brazile’s first tie-down title in Cheyenne. The 11-time all-around world champion had previously claimed team roping, steer roping and all-round titles at the rodeo.

“It’s nice to have that come together when I needed an extra boost in tie-down,” he said.

The victory moved Brazile to fifth in the PRCA tie-down standings with $65,939.40 in winnings. Fellow Decatur cowboy Tuf Cooper leads the class with $106,396.07.

Brazile owns a commanding lead over Cooper in the all-around class with $178,941.96 in winnings in 2014.

“It’s been a good year. When you do three events, it’s tough juggling all of them,” Brazile said. “Now, I’ve got them all balanced.”

Blessing brought home Wise County’s first title of the weekend in Cheyenne. He tallied an aggregate of 58.9 to win the steer roping and rake in $14,933.

“It was my fourth time to make the short round but I’ve never came in that high with a chance to win it,” Blessing said. “I knew I had a decent shot if I drew a decent steer that let me rope him.

“It’s a rodeo you always dream of winning. I remember going there with my dad and roping under the bleachers. It’s like a dream to win. It’s a great opportunity.”

Blessing wrapped up the title with a run of 19.6 in the short-go. He opened the rodeo with a run of 16.3 and had a 23 in the second outing.

“I made a really good run in the first round and got by in the second,” Blessing said.

Jones closed the stellar weekend for the county, winning the steer wrestling with an aggregate of 30.2 and earning $13,204.75. He made runs of 8.6, 8.7 and 12.9 to win.

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Melvin takes 6th in pole bending

Katlyn Melvin finished sixth in pole bending at the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla.

The Paradise rider turned in an average of 61.916 in her three rides to record the top-10 finish.

Her ride in the third go was good for fifth at 20.106. She was eighth after the first two efforts with an average of 41.810.

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Little rest to be best; Melvin spends long hours in saddle to keep winning

Little rest to be best; Melvin spends long hours in saddle to keep winning

Marilyn Melvin finally gets a break on Sundays.

“We’re tired after a rodeo. We go to church and after we clean house and still ride a couple of horses,” Melvin explains.

Training Partner

TRAINING PARTNER – Marilyn Melvin pets MFR Firewater Al, who she is training. Melvin will saddle up on several horses to compete in the International Youth and National High School Rodeo finals next month. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

What she describes as a “light day” is a sharp contrast from hours in the saddle on as many as 10 horses.

“It’s all day,” she said. “In the summer, we don’t do anything but ride.”

But it’s that tireless work ethic that has the recent Paradise graduate competing for titles at the International Youth Rodeo Finals in Shawnee, Okla., July 6-11 and the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 13-19.

“The IFYR is the highest youth rodeo in the world. Then I’ll go to nationals,” Melvin said. “I’ll be gone three to four weeks.”

At the IFYR event, she’ll compete in four events – barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. She’ll be competing in cutting in Wyoming.

“My goal is to win the all-around [at IFYR]. It’s hard with all the factors that go into rodeo,” said Melvin. Roping at the state rodeo finals, she experienced that firsthand when a calf broke the wrong way, giving her a no-time. “You just go out and do as good as you can.”

Her main goal at the IFYR is to bring home a title in the breakaway roping.

“I love roping. It’s my favorite,” she said.

But she works hard at all the disciplines to bring home more hardware. She’s quick to point out there are no shortcuts to success. She credits her parents – Judy and Marty – with teaching her a strong work ethic.

“You work, work and work. You can buy a truck, trailer and horses, but you can’t buy first place,” Melvin said. “You can buy a saddle but it’s not the same as winning.”

Melvin admits she spreads herself thin, competing in all the various events.

“It’s crazy. I won a trailer, and it doesn’t hold all the horses I need in a rodeo,” she claims.

She needs as many as six horses to compete in all the events. She and her 16-year-old sister, Katlyn, share some of the horses.

Between competing, practicing, training horses and helping her parents run their ranching operation, Melvin keeps a busy schedule.

“It’s a full-time thing. It’s all I do. I don’t hang out with friends except at rodeos,” Melvin said. “But I love it.”

Even though horses have surrounded her all her life, Melvin said her parents made her wait to jump into rodeo with both feet until she was in eighth grade.

“They let us choose. This is what I’m best at,” Melvin said.

As a freshman and sophomore, Melvin ran cross country and played basketball.

“I loved that, but you can spread yourself too thin and be mediocre – and never get anywhere,” Melvin said.

Her junior year, she home-schooled to give herself a more flexible schedule so she could compete in rodeo.

She returned to high school as a senior but said she was done each day early in the afternoon to get back to the family’s ranch to work.

But she took her studies seriously, graduating with a 4.2 grade-point average.

After a busy summer of competing, Melvin will head to Weatherford College to join the rodeo team.

“I’ll rodeo for them in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association,” Melvin said.

She hopes to get her associate degree as the first step to an eventual doctorate to become an anesthesiologist.

“I know how hard it will be,” she said. “I’ve set my goals high.”

Melvin knows she’ll likely have to take a break from riding when she enters med school. But she isn’t thinking about that now.

“I’ve still got five years,” Melvin said.

For now, she’ll be working on winning more saddles and buckles – even on Sundays.

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Wilson wrestles state title

Chase Wilson is the best high school steer wrestler in Texas.

The incoming Decatur junior captured the Texas High School Rodeo Association title Saturday in Abilene.

Wilson won the rodeo average and turned in the best times in the first go and short go. He brought home the champion saddle and four buckles.

Collecting Buckles

COLLECTING BUCKLES – Decatur’s Chase Wilson won four buckles and a saddle at Texas High School Rodeo Finals. Submitted photo

“This means a lot,” Wilson said. “Like I’ve said before, I’m trying to follow in my dad’s and brother’s footsteps.

“It felt good knowing that I’m the best bulldogger in Texas and that my hard work paid off.”

Wilson, who won the season steer wrestling title for the North Texas High School Rodeo Association in May, said he came into the event in Abilene determined to finish on top.

Wilson claimed that he ran 125 steers leading up to state. He also practiced in the morning and took part in jackpot events each night.

“I went in trying to work harder and work more steers than everybody else,” Wilson said.

In the first go, Wilson took just 4.52 seconds to complete his run. It was the best time of the round and one of only three under five seconds.

He turned in a 5.06 on his second run, which was good for a reserve buckle.

With the best average among competitors, Wilson drew the last run of the short go.

“All the pressure was on me. I rode as good as I as could and as fast as I could,” Wilson explained.

He turned in the rodeo’s best time – 4.46 – to seal the title.

“It didn’t kick in until I got the buckles and saddle,” he said.

Wilson will not get a lot of time to celebrate the victory. He will ride in the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., July 5-11 and the National High School Finals Rodeo July 13-19 in Rock Springs, Wyo.

“I hope to do just as good [at nationals],” Wilson said.

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Mauney, Harris face off in PBR Challenge

Mauney, Harris face off in PBR Challenge

The reigning champions of the PBR and PRCA will settle the debate of who is the top bull rider – at least for one night – Saturday in Decatur.

J.B. Mauney, the PBR champion, will face off against PRCA champion J.W. Harris in a $25,000 winner-take-all event at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge at the Wise County Fairgounds.

Battle of Champions

BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS – J.B. Mauney captured the PBR series title last season. The reigning PBR champion will square off against reigning PRCA champ J.W. Harris in a $25,000 winner-take-all challenge at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge at Wise County Fairgrounds Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The showdown is part of a full night of action with some of the PBR’s best riders and bulls that begins at 8 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. The night will also include a celebrity steer riding featuring Fernando Escobar, J.D. Clark, Beau Bell, Joe Neil Henderson, Jeff Sicking and Wade Watson, between the long and short go.

The event’s namesake, Hart, put up the $25,000 for Mauney and Harris to battle over in the unique challenge of champions, which will be streamed on PBR Live.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a rivalry, but fans and the media made it a rivalry [between the PBR and PRCA],” said Hart in a conference call with Mauney and Harris Friday. “Especially with J.W. [Harris] coming over to the Ford Tough Series, he’s showed that he’s one of the guys that could pose a challenge and stand up against the best in the world.

“This gives the fans what they want for the two to go head-to-head.”

The PBR started in 1992 when a group of the sport’s top riders splintered off from the PRCA. It quickly grew into a multi-million dollar league, which now draws more than a million fans to events across the world.

Mauney became the PBR’s champion last year, riding 47 of his 90 bulls at 26 events and winning $1.81 million. The 27-year-old from Mooresville, N.C. is second all-time in the organization, earning $4.849 million.

Harris, 27, of May, is making the transition to the PBR after capturing the PRCA title last year. Harris has posted a pair of top-10 finishes in six events on the PBR tour.

Both have a lot of mutual respect.

“He has a gold buckle around his waist for a reason – and I do, too,” Mauney said.

“He’s kicked everyone’s butt in the PRCA I don’t know how many times. A lot of people were running their mouth saying he couldn’t handle [the PBR bulls]. He’s shut them up pretty quick.”

Harris said of Mauney, “You don’t get that buckle on your belt by accident.”

Harris said he’s been honored to get the opportunity to compete on the PBR for the larger purses. In this competition, he doesn’t feel he’s carrying the banner for the PRCA, where he’s spent most of his career.

“I’m just a bull rider. I’m just a rider they wanted in the matchup.”

Mauney will ride Asteroid, and Harris will be on Shepherd Hills Tested. The two riders downplay the head-to-head matchup between them and say it’s just another ride on a tough bull.

“I don’t think we are really pinned against each other,” Mauney said. “We still have to ride the bull we have to get on and then the scores will fall into place.

“I have a job to do when I get there, and he has a job to do. It ain’t like we have the easiest bulls to get on. We have a tough road ahead of us.”

Harris agreed.

“It’s not that I am going against J.B. It’s going to be another bull, another day. We always compete against the bull, and I hope J.B. rides his bull and I ride my bull. We’ll let the judges sort it out after that.”

Asteroid is ranked second on the PRB tour, bucking off 93 percent of riders.

“I’ve been on him three or four times and rode him once,” Mauney said. “Last time I got on Asteroid he threw me over his head, so hopefully it goes a little different this time.”

Harris said Shepherd Hills Tested, the third ranked bull on tour, fits his style. Like Mauney’s bull, it has bucked off 93 percent of riders throughout its career.

“He is a kind of bull that I have always wanted to get on. I think he kind of fits my style. I ride bulls better away from hand better than I do into my hand,” Harris said.

“I crave getting on them bulls that nobody else rides and nobody, frankly, wants to get on. That is why you ride bulls, to ride them unrideables.”

Hart said over the 16 years of the Challenge that he’s always tried to come up with a special draw. Last year, the series’ top bull, Bushwacker, came to Decatur.

Hart said he’s not pulling for Mauney or Harris in the competition.

“I don’t have a favorite in the deal,” Hart said. “I have known J.B. longer, and have probably a better relationship with him, but as far as the fact as who is going to win on what day, on what bull, I am going to let them guys and the fans pick and decide because at the end of the day I probably need both of them to hit the ground so I don’t lose $25,000.”

Mauney and Harris both hope Hart is writing a check at the end.

“I hope I can stay on so J.W. [Hart] has to pay,” Mauney said.

Hart quipped back: “Hopefully they score the same, so they can split it down the middle.”

J.W. HART PBR CHALLENGE

  • Saturday, May 31
  • Wise County Fairgrounds, 3101 South Farm Road 51, in Decatur
  • Gates open at 5:30 p.m., event starts at 8 p.m.
  • The Celebrity Steer Riding will be held between the long and short go.
  • Tickets are available at www.wcchallenger.org or at Wise Wireless in Decatur.

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Wilson brings home saddle; Decatur sophomore wins steer wrestling season title

Wilson brings home saddle; Decatur sophomore wins steer wrestling season title

Finishing behind his brother Colton last year as a freshman, Chase Wilson entered the high school rodeo season with something to prove.

“This year I was motivated with my brother beating me last year,” he said. “I wanted to show my brother and dad that I’ve got what it takes.”

RIDING TO TOP – Decatur sophomore Chase Wilson won the saddle and buckle for steer wrestling in the North Texas High School Rodeo Association. Submitted photo

That motivation led the Decatur sophomore to the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s 2013-14 steer wrestling title. Wilson brought home the champion saddle and buckle after the finals rodeo last weekend.

He also finished third in average for steer wrestling in the finals and was fifth in chute dogging.

“This means the world to me,” Wilson said. “I had family and friends helping me. There were a bunch of people coming together to help me practice.”

Wilson piled up points, consistently finishing near the top of the steer wrestling standings at the weekly NTHSRA event from September to May. After finishing first at 11 weekly events this season, he went into the finals with a 294-point lead over North Hills’ Preston Young.

“I went into the finals with enough points that I was not going to be caught,” Wilson said.

Along with competing weekly at the NTHRA events, he sometimes added another rodeo. He also practiced twice per week with his father Ricky and some pros that took the time to work with him.

“I have to say thanks to all the people that helped me,” Wilson said.

The NTHSRA title added to a successful year for Wilson. He won the steer wrestling event at the Wise County Youth Fair rodeo in March.

Wilson still has two big rodeos left this year. He will compete in the Texas High School Rodeo Association event June 8 in Abilene. He will be in the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., July 5.

Several other members of the Decatur team placed in the top five for the season in the NTHSRA.

Sophomore Carolyn Spear finished third in steer undecorating and had the fourth-best average during the finals.

Cody Kral, a junior, grabbed third for the year in bull riding.

Sophomore Camerron Tucker placed fourth in steer wrestling.

Chase Gasperson, junior, finished fourth in team roping. He was sixth in average in the finals.

Junior Jake Cobb took third in calf roping at the finals.

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Man vs. Steer: WC Challenger Charities plans Celebrity Steer Riding for PBR event

Man vs. Steer: WC Challenger Charities plans Celebrity Steer Riding for PBR event

Six local men have stepped up to the chute and agreed to take a wild ride for charity.

The 11th Annual J.W. Hart PBR Challenge on May 31 will feature, for the first time, Celebrity Steer Riding.

Tough Enough

TOUGH ENOUGH – Wise County men (from left) Joe Neil Henderson, Jeff Sicking, Beau Bell, Fernando Escobar, Wade Watson and J.D. Clark put on their game faces in preparation to ride steers at this year’s J.W. Hart PBR Challenge May 31. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Six everyday, non-bull-riding guys from Wise County will climb aboard a beast and see how long they can hang on. The lineup includes Joe Neil Henderson, J.D. Clark, Jeff Sicking, Fernando Escobar, Beau Bell and Wade Watson.

WC Challenger Charities (WCCC), the organization that puts on the annual PBR event, will make a one-time $500 donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

WCCC’s Calvin Jackson said the only time they’ve had a similar event was the first year when they hosted a Coaches Challenge.

“Those guys showed up, and they were all so big we couldn’t put them on the backs of steers,” Jackson said. “They had to ride bulls. We asked J.W., ‘what are we going to do?’

“His response: ‘Don’t tell them ’til they sign the waiver!'”

Jackson has reassured these guys that they will be riding steers, a bit smaller and perhaps less aggressive than the PBR bulls. He also told them earlier this week that each one of them will be tied in by a champion PBR rider.

“It won’t help you,” he said with a laugh, “but it’ll be kind of cool.”

It’s rumored that J.W. Hart’s 5-year-old son, Wacey, is riding the steers in the weeks leading up to the competition, breaking them in for the Wise County celebrities.

Although Jackson likes to joke around and tease the volunteer riders about all the possible outcomes, he said WCCC does appreciate their participation.

“Our organization really does appreciate what these guys are doing because it’s bringing in extra revenue, which is helping charities,” he said. “I appreciate the guys doing that. Not everybody is cut out for it.”

At the conclusion of this year’s event fans will be treated to a bull-riding matchup that features the best of the best.

Hart has put up $25,000 for a winner-take-all challenge featuring the reigning PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney on Asteroid, and four-time PRCA title-winner J.W. Harris on Shepherd Hills Tested.

Mauney was quoted in a story on the PBR website as saying “sparks will fly.”

Fernando Escobar

FERNANDO
ESCOBAR

Age: 31

Occupation: Licensed athletic trainer

Training regimen: Watch 30 minutes of steer riding on YouTube; five minutes of Physio ball exercises for core and adductor strengthening; one Orange Rockstar; one hour of advice from Fabiano Vieira; 30 seconds of Brett Braziel telling me how stupid I am for doing this; 12 beverages of my choosing to help me sleep at night.

Pre-ride ritual: 12 beverages of my choosing to build up my courage, and one Rockstar with a slap to the face!

Theme song: “We Own It,” 2 Chainz

Charity of choice: Wise Regional Health Foundation

Quote: “Smart, good-looking, and MEXICAN. It just doesn’t get any better than this!”

J.D. Clark

J.D.
CLARK

Age: 28

Occupation: Mayor/teacher/Republican nominee for county judge

Training regimen: Listening to Chris LeDoux music and taking advice from people who actually know what they’re doing.

Pre-ride ritual: Intense prayer. I doubt much else will actually help me.

Theme song: “Keep on Keepin’ On,” Jack Ingram

Charity of choice: Wise Hope/Wise County Domestic Violence Task Force

Quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena …” – Theodore Roosevelt

Beau Bell

BEAU
BELL

Age: 39

Occupation: New and used car salesman at James Wood in Decatur

Training regimen: I haven’t done much. I guess I had better start thinking about what kind of end zone dance I am going to do when I win!

Pre-ride ritual: I will just get my mind right and ride him jump for jump! Can’t think about it too much or you’ll psych yourself out.

Theme song: “All I Do is Win,” by DJ Khaled

Charity of choice: Wise County Meals on Wheels

Quote: “If you ain’t first, you’re last boys!”

Joe Neil Henderson

JOE NEIL
HENDERSON

Age: 46

Occupation:
Owner, AT&T Wise Wireless and
iCopy Print and Office Supply

Training regimen: Just started P90X,
but it’s not going real well.

Pre-ride ritual: Pray! And do a little stretching.

Theme song: “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” Scorpions

Charity of choice: Wise County Christian Counseling

Quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13 I’M FIRED UP!

Jeff Sicking

JEFF
SICKING

Age: 34

Occupation: SVP PrimeWest Mortgage

Training regimen: Richards Simmons VHS videos twice a day

Pre-ride ritual: Eating a couple pounds of our cooking team’s award-winning brisket

Theme song: “Falling,” N’Sync

Charity of choice: Decatur Cares

Quote: “I don’t always ride bulls, but when I do, I prefer WC Challenger’s.”

Wade Watson

WADE
WATSON

Age: 41

Occupation: Owner of Texas Custom Trailers

Training regimen: Two sit-ups and had a double cheeseburger at Whataburger

Pre-ride ritual: Give my wife Teela a kiss!

Theme song: “Bad to the Bone,” George Thorogood

Charity of choice: Decatur Cares, summer meal program for kids

Quote: “Get ready boys, I am fixing to spur the hair off this sucker!”

J.W. HART PBR CHALLENGE

  • Saturday, May 31
  • Wise County Fairgrounds, 3101 South Farm Road 51, in Decatur
  • Gates open at 5:30 p.m., event starts at 8 p.m.
  • The Celebrity Steer Riding will be held between the long and short go.
  • Tickets are available at www.wcchallenger.org or at Wise Wireless in Decatur.

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August rodeo will benefit Youth Fair

Planning is underway for a new rodeo event in Wise County.

The Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo is excited to bring a UPRA rodeo the the Wise County Fairgrounds Aug. 22 and 23, produced by the Flying C Rodeo Co. Owned by Will, Karen, Todd and Casey Cook, the Flying C is a family-owned rodeo company based out of Madill, Okla.

The Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo is a new event, however the goal is to provide a truly authentic rodeo experience for the contestants, spouses, family members, friends and spectators.

All money raised over and above expenses will benefit the 2015 Wise County Youth Rodeo and Wise County Youth Fair.

For information and sponsorship opportunity, call Zane Lasater at 940-255-9375.

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Decatur rodeo team competes

The Decatur High School rodeo team competed at a North Texas High School Rodeo Association events April 26-27 and May 2-4 in Saginaw.

The results are as follows:

APRIL 26-27

Chase Gasperson – 6th place, calf roping; 1st place, team roping

Jake Cobb – 4th place, calf roping

Chase Wilson – 2nd place, chute dogging

Jacob McLeod – 6th place, chute dogging

MAY 2-4

Jake Cobb – 3rd place, calf roping; 6th place, ribbon roping

Chase Gasperson – 8th place, calf roping; 4th place, team roping

Camerron Tucker – 1st place, steer wrestling

Chase Wilson – 2nd place, steer wrestling; 5th place, chute dogging

Dominic Head – 7th place, chute dogging

Cody Kral – 1st place, bull riding

Nick Martinez – 3rd place, chute dogging

Seven members of the Decatur High School Rodeo Team advanced to the North Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals May 16-18 at Will Rogers Coliseum. They include Jake Cobb, Chase Gasperson, Carolyn Spear, Camerron Tucker, Chase Wilson, Dillan McGuire and Cody Kral.

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DHS rodeo team competes

The Decatur High School rodeo team competed at a North Texas High School Rodeo Association event April 12-13 in Saginaw.

The results are as follows:

Chase Gasperson – 4th place, calf roping; 5th and 10th places, team roping

Carolyn Spear – 7th place, steer undecorating

Jake Cobb – 4th place, ribbon roping

Chase Wilson – 1st place, steer wrestling

Camerron Tucker – 5th place, steer wrestling; 1st place, chute dogging

Dominic Head – 8th place, chute dogging

Cody Kral – 1st place, bull riding

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Vieira crowned Iron Cowboy V

Decatur’s Joao Ricardo Vieira arose as the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V in the Professional Bull Riders bracket-style event Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Vieira, who is the reigning PBR Rookie of the Year, stayed atop the bull Mick E Mouse for 2.42 seconds, edging 19-year-old’s Gage Gay’s 1.45-second ride by less than a second, to be crowned the champion of the single-elimination competition.

Hold On

HOLD ON – Decatur’s Joao Ricardo Vieira stays atop the bull just long enough to advance and eventually win the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V Professional Bull Riding event Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Vieira edged past two of his four opponents by less than a second. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

As the event winner, Vieira earned the chance at $1 million if he rode the menacing Bushwacker for 8 seconds. But the bull proved its dominance, bucking Vieira off in 2.17 seconds.

Vieira earned no qualifying score en route to the win, as cowboys must ride a bull for 8 seconds to gain points. Otherwise, their score is the length of time they stay atop the bull.

FIRST-ROUND RIDE – Valdiron de Oliveira rides Born Sinner for 6.83 seconds to advance to the second round of competition in the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

In previous rounds, he bested Reese Cates by .15 seconds – 1.98 to Cates’ 1.83 – and Stormy Wing by more than 2 seconds – 3.57 to Wing’s 1.27-second ride.

He then eliminated fellow Brazilian Silvano Alves, also of Decatur, in the final four with a 5.91-second ride to Alves’ 3.23.

Alves had previously earned an 87.75-point ride, eliminating fellow Brazilian Fabiano Vieira and his 5.52-second ride.

After a first-round bye, Alves had bested Chase Outlaw with a 5.95-second ride on Honey Hush, to Outlaw’s 3.88 seconds atop Chocolate Thunder.

Valdiron de Oliveira of Boyd advanced to the second round of competition with a 6.83-second ride, which was better than Ty Pozzobon’s 3.44 seconds.

Defending PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, however, ousted de Oliveira in the next round with a qualifying score of 83.75 points to the local rider’s 2.73-second ride.

Despite an impressive 89-point ride, Decatur’s Marco Eguchi was held off by Stormy Wing’s 90.5 points in the second round. As a top seed, Eguchi received a first-round bye.

In the first round, Mike Lee of Decatur received a qualifying score of 77.25 points – and quite a scare after his spur got stuck on the rope around the bull, causing him to be dragged for a few seconds. But it was not enough to advance as Gay, his bracket opponent, earned an 85.75.

After a first-round bye, Eduardo Aparecido Silva of Decatur was eliminated in his first go after a 3.62-second ride to Fabiano Vieira’s 83.75 qualifying score.

Following Saturday’s event, Lee remains second in the world standings, just ahead of the Iron Cowboy V at third.

De Oliveira drops one spot to fifth, while Eguchi climbs to 11th place from 13th.

Alves rose to 15th place from 17th, and Aparecido is ranked 19th.

The Iron Cowboy V was the ninth stop of 27 in the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough Series, which continues with the Bass Pro Chute Out Saturday and Sunday in Phoenix, Ariz. The season culminates at the PBR World Finals Oct. 22-26 in Las Vegas.

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Wise County teen rodeos for a reason

Every fan knows it takes more to succeed at rodeo than just what meets the eye – more than the skill to toss a loop over the head of a running calf, wrestle a steer to the ground, mount an angry bull or guide a horse around three hairpin turns marked by barrels.

It takes a reason, and 16-year-old Sarah Jennings has one.

Rounding the Bend

ROUNDING THE BEND – Sarah Jennings brings her barrel horse, Cowboy, around the course at a recent competition. Submitted photo

Sarah is a barrel racer, and for over a year now, she’s been riding to increase awareness of childhood cancer. In last year’s Wise County Youth Fair Rodeo, she rode for her friend, Morgan Wildmon of Rhome, who was battling brain cancer.

This year, she’ll ride in Morgan’s memory.

Morgan and Sarah met at a 4-H event three years ago. Last year when Sarah was introduced at the Youth Fair Rodeo, the announcer told the audience about Morgan, whose initials were embroidered on Sarah’s shirt.

COWBOY AND COWGIRL – Sarah Jennings said her barrel horse, Cowboy, was “stolen” from her dad. He’s the first horse she’s trained herself, and this will be his first full season on the circuit. Submitted photo

They’re still there, as Sarah still rides as part of the Rodeo For A Reason movement. But last June, a little more than a month before her 13th birthday, cancer claimed Morgan’s life.

“She loved horses, but she would never get to do it – it was physically impossible for her,” Sarah said. “When I found out about Rodeo For a Reason, I thought it would be a great thing to ride for her.”

Rodeo For a Reason was founded by pro barrel racer Kendra Dickson of Aubrey and her friend and fellow barrel racer Chrystal Hall.

In 2007, Dickson and Hall began hosting free barrel racing clinics, giving away T-shirts, belt buckles, bits, Bibles, saddles and even trailers. After a few years, they started asking students to bring food items for a local shelter or to raise money for a designated charity.

The group unites rodeo athletes with causes that serve a greater purpose and reach people in need. Sarah already knew Morgan when she met Dickson at a barrel race. RFR was a natural for her.

“I thought it was a cool idea,” Sarah said. “I liked it. It’s not just for the glory for yourself.”

When she turned to Kendra for help with a horse problem, she learned more than just horsemanship.

“Whenever she would help you, she would give you a little bracelet that said RFR, and there was a Bible verse on the back,” Sarah said.

Sarah and her family have stayed in touch, worked together and now Karen, Sarah’s mom, is on the board of RFR.

The group’s most recent campaign, “Gold Fire,” has become so popular that numerous competitors in the recent National Finals Rodeo wore gold ribbons to raise awareness of childhood cancer – and many are also pledging a percentage of their winnings for the cause.

“Barrel racers do have a stigma,” Karen said. “Especially with the new TV show ‘Rodeo Girls’ – we just groan. I think Kendra and what she’s doing and her group, they’re trying to break the mold.”

Karen said there’s a lot more to barrel racers than bling.

“There’s a lot of women out there who are barrel racing that are fantastic horse people,” she said. “These girls are horsemen. That’s why Kendra and these girls are doing this. It’s Rodeo for a Reason.”

In this year’s Youth Fair Rodeo, scheduled March 7-8, Sarah will compete in both barrels and breakaway roping. A barrel racer since the age of 10, she’ll be going for a championship buckle – but it won’t be her first, and not likely her last.

“My goal is by the time I turn 18 to get my pro card,” she said. “You can turn pro and still college rodeo.” She’d like to attend Tarleton State University, competing in rodeo while she earns a degree in ag business.

She stresses that no matter the event, no matter the age, you can always rodeo for a reason. Sarah recommends RFR’s Facebook page as a starting point for any competitor who wants to get involved in RFR.

“Even though barrel racers started this, you don’t have to be a barrel racer,” she said. “You can do anything. I would like to see it spread – calf-roping, bull riding, bronc riding – you can each rodeo for a cause that’s important to you.

“You ride for what’s personal,” she said. “I think that’s something great, and I want to see it spread. I think it would make a difference, the more people we can get.”

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Rodeo spotlight on Wise this weekend

Wise County folks will shine under the bright lights during a pair of rodeo events at AT&T Stadium in Arlington this weekend.

Five local bullriders will compete for a share of the $150,000 purse during the Professional Bull Riders Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V Saturday.

Sunday, members of the 1,000 Miles Till Home committee will partner with RFD-TV to give a veteran a home through the Military Warriors Support Foundation Homes4Heros program during The American rodeo.

In bull-riding action beginning at 7 p.m. Valdiron de Oliveira and Mike Lee will ride in the first round. Silvano Alves, Eduardo Aparecido Silva and Marco Eguchi, who were among the top eight riders in the Final World Standing last season, received an automatic bid and first-round byes.

The five are among 24 competitors in the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS), single-elimination, bracket-style event.

Riders face off in pairs, and the one with the highest score – or longest riding time if neither holds on for eight seconds – advances to the next level.

The matchups continue until one prevails and is declared the Iron Cowboy. The winner receives $50,000 and the opportunity to win an additional $1 million if he can ride the event’s bonus bull, Bushwacker, in the Bad Boy Mowers Million Dollar Ride. This will be Bushwacker’s last appearance in competition in Texas, as he will retire at the end of the 2014 BFTS season.

No. 16 seed de Oliveira – who is fourth in the World Standings – will face Ty Pozzobon while ninth-seeded and second-ranked Lee goes against Gage Gay.

Second-seeded Alves, ranked 17th, will face the winner between Sean Willingham and Chase Outlaw. Seventh-seeded Aparecido will go against the winner of Fabiano Vieira and Zane Lambert while sixth-seeded and 13-ranked Eguchi faces either Stormy Wing or Lachlan Richardson.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the PBR has brought this one-of-a-kind event to Arlington. It is the ninth stop of 27 in the 2014 PBR BFTS, which culminates at the PBR World Finals Oct. 22-26 in Las Vegas.

BIGGER STAGE

In observance of the 10th anniversary of the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge in Decatur, 1,000 Miles Till Home – a division of Wise County Challenger Charities (WCCC) – in conjunction with Military Warriors Support Foundation, presented five veterans each a home last May.

The 1,000 Miles Till Home committee will take its efforts to a bigger stage and, along with RFD-TV, present a home to one veteran during The American, the richest one-day rodeo in history with more than $2 million in prize money.

“We’re trying to expand this to be more than just Wise County,” said Alan Sessions, a member of WCCC and the 1,000 Miles Till Home committee. “We want it to be as big as it can be, with it having started right here in Decatur.”

After WCCC partnered with Military Warriors Support Foundation, Wendell Berry Jr., a founder of WC Challenger Charities and a Fit-N-Wise trainer, established 1,000 Miles Till Home last year to raise money and awareness for WCCC’s newest cause – giving mortgage-free, remodeled homes to veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

They had hoped to raise $20,000 and give away one home, but the fundraising campaign was so successful they were able to give away five homes.

This year, 14 other teams joined Berry in his running and fundraising efforts, paying $20 to participate. That money, along with the proceeds of a Heroes Night dinner – to be held March 29 – and other donations, furnishes the money that buys the homes.

Donations may be made via PayPal at www.1000milestillhome.com or mailed to WC Challenger Charities, P.O. Box 1238, Decatur, TX 76234.

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Saturday Sports Buffet: Roping another honor; Cooper to go into Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Leaving Cisco Junior College in the mid-1970s, Roy Cooper was invited to Durant, Okla. and Southeastern State University, where they were putting together a rodeo team.

SUPER LOOPER – Roy Cooper will join the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in August. The Decatur resident is in the National Cowboy and Pro Rodeo Halls. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“They picked me,” Cooper recalled. “The president (of the university) called me and asked if I could make a team.

“We didn’t have a coach. I put the team together.”

Success soon followed for the start-up program.

“We won every rodeo. My two years there we won national titles. They ended up winning four in a row,” Cooper said. “We put Durant on the map.”

Forty years later, Cooper is now being inducted in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. The Decatur resident was one of six inductees named this year for enshrinement. The class also includes Congressman and former Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Darrell Porter and NFL All-Pro Leslie O’Neal.

“It’s the class that you go in with that is memorable,” Cooper said.

Cooper, an eight-time world champion, who has been inducted in multiple hall of fames, including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, said this honor is special.

“This one is not just for rodeo,” Cooper said. “It’s for all sports. That’s the icing on the cake. It’s special when you look at who is in there like Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders. It’s a great honor to me.”

Following going to school in Durant, Cooper made it his home for 12 years.

Aside from it being his place of residence, Cooper will always be fond of Oklahoma because it’s where he captured his world titles after splashing on the scene as the 1976 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Rookie of the Year and winning the calf roping title and the first world title.

Oklahoma City held the National Finals Rodeo prior to the event heading west to Las Vegas.

“Oklahoma has been a great state for me,” Cooper said.

After spending more than a decade in Oklahoma, he moved to Childress and later to Decatur, where he and his sons – Tuf, Clif and Clint – have helped make it the world’s new cowboy capital.

Cooper still visits Southeastern Oklahoma. He put on a clinic Oct. 17-18 on campus as he continues to deliver on his promise to deliver a championship to the school.

SIDEDISHES:

  • Monday will be Christmas for sports writers and some athletic directors with the unveiling of the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment. Some ADs may think it’s Halloween, depending on which district they get saddled with. This year, there’s some added confusion with the renaming of the classes with 5A now becoming 6A. It’s not what many of us hoped with a classification being added as now Class A Division II is now getting its own league and everyone is bumped up one. There’s also the change in what was once 3A and is now 4A with the division splits for football like was previously done in the lower two classes. So once again, 12 football state champions will be crowned and six or fewer in the other sports. A revolutionary fix I would like to see is 10 classifications that use consistent districts for every UIL activity. Yes, to divide the schools up into these 10 divisions would increase some travel – but for equality it should be done. If 12 state champions are needed for football because of the disparity between large and small schools in each division, I don’t see how it’s not for basketball, softball, baseball and so on,
  • Decatur basketball fans may hope to see the school land back in region I this coming realignment. According to the latest on the UIL site, perennial basketball power Dallas Lincoln will be in 4A Region II along with other Dallas schools – Carter, Wilmer Hutchins, Madison and Triple A Academy.
  • Joining the football ranks this realignment will be longtime basketball power Brock in 3A.
  • Realignment should bring a new fun rivalry with Byron Nelson and Northwest squaring off.
  • Along with realignment, next week will also feature national letter of intent day, as high school seniors sign with colleges.
  • A few names Decatur and Bridgeport fans will remember from Wichita Falls Hirschi are making big impacts on the collegiate level. Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster is 14th in the Big 12, averaging 13.4 points per game. At Old Dominion, Richard Ross is putting in 9.1 points and grabbing 7.4 rebounds per night. Ross and his Monarchs will be in Denton Feb. 13 to play the University of North Texas.
  • Sunday’s Super Bowl should be a super matchup with the game’s best quarterback, Peyton Manning and best offense Denver face off against the league’s best secondary and defense of Seattle. Defense is supposed to win championships, but it’s hard to pick against Manning. I’m going with Denver just because I trust Manning to make the play in a tight game. This is one of the few Super Bowls that I’m looking more forward to the game than the commercials.
  • Finally, a strong case can be made that Jan. 31 may be one of the most important days in baseball history. Jackie Robinson, Nolan Ryan and Ernie Banks share it as a birthday.

Richard Greene is the sports editor of the Messenger. Follow him on Twitter @wcm_rgreene.

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Trevor Brazile ropes record-breaking 19th title

Trevor Brazile ropes record-breaking 19th title

The stars of Texas rodeo were bright this week, deep in the heart of Las Vegas – but none was brighter than Decatur roper Trevor Brazile. On Tuesday night, during round six of the 55th annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the 37-year-old Decatur rodeo legend seized an unprecedented 19th world championship.

LONELY AT THE TOP – After capturing his 11th all-around cowboy title Tuesday night at WNFR in Las Vegas, Trevor Brazile set the record for total number of PRCA world championships at 19. The previous record of 18 was held by legendary steer roper Guy Allen. Photo courtesy Kirt Steinke, Western Rodeo Images

And he did it just moments after handing out a different kind of award.

Brazile and his wife, Shada, presented one of the early awards at the American Country Music Awards show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center before heading to the Thomas & Mack Center, where both competed before more than 17,000 fans.

Trevor won in dramatic fashion when he and partner Patrick Smith took the sixth-round title in team roping in 4.8 seconds. The earnings propelled Brazile to his 11th all-around gold buckle.

It’s also his eighth consecutive all-around title.

With his 19th world championship, he surpassed one of his childhood heroes, steer roper Guy Allen. Brazile grew up studying Allen’s technique, which produced 18 world championships, all in steer roping.

Sibling Rivalry 1

SIBLING RIVALRY – Barrel racer Shada Brazile posted a blazing 13.8 second ride Thursday night at WNFR. She’s third in the average. Photo courtesy Kirt Steinke, Western Rodeo Images

“I’d never have dreamed of setting 19 world championships as a goal, because I’m into setting goals I can reach,” Brazile told PRCA after the win. “I watched Guy Allen dominate. I wondered how someone could do something as hard as winning a world championship 18 times. It’s a little different, because he did it in one event.”

The win extended Brazile’s record for round wins to 55. He also won $26,462 in the National Finals Steer Roping, which resulted in his 18th world championship.

“This is a little bit surreal,” Brazile continued. “It sounds like a number to most people. Just because you have 18 doesn’t mean they give you 19. World titles never get any easier to win, and that’s why they all hold special meaning for me.

Sibling Rivalry 2

SIBLING RIVALRY – Tuf Cooper is trying to capture his third consecutive world championship in tie-down roping. Photo courtesy Kirt Steinke, Western Rodeo Images

“There are 15 guys in every event here every year, and none of them just lie down and let you have it,” he added. “This is what we dream about from when we were little. No one wants to let go of that part of it.”

Brazile’s world championship pace is unprecedented and appears unstoppable. He’s averaged winning two per year over the past eights years. Brazile won his first gold buckle, for the all-around, in 2002.

Team roping heeler Jade Corkill, the defending world champion, was second in the all-around standings. Brazile’s brother-in-law, two-time defending world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper, also of Decatur, finished third.

As of Friday, Tuf was second in tie-down world rankings. He had two more rounds to close the gap between himself and Hico cowboy Cody Ohl to claim a third consecutive tie-down roping gold buckle.

After Tuf began the finals in first place, Ohl has posted amazing runs including three first-place finishes and a second-place in rounds four through eight, respectively. Tuf tied Ohl with a 6.9-second run Thursday – a blazing time that would usually win the round.

Meanwhile another Decatur cowboy, Clif Cooper, was holding strong in eighth place in the world rankings. Clif has managed to place in the top six in four of the first eight rounds of the 10-day event.

Decatur steer wrestler K.C. Jones was sitting at 12th overall. He’s finished in the top five in two of the first eight rounds.

On Thursday night Shada Brazile posted her best time of the WNFR in barrel racing with a blazing 13.8 second ride, taking third in the round. She sits in third place in the average and 12th in the world rankings.

The rodeo runs through Saturday night.

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