Trevor Brazile, The Man, The Legend
Trevor Brazile entered the 2012 National Finals Rodeo well ahead in the all-around standings, but this certainly didn't stop him from giving his all each and every night. This unassuming cowboy from the heart of Texas already holds the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association record for holding the most records, and he either extended or set 6 more records at this year's NFR. His highest achievement this year was winning his 10th All-Around World Championship, pushing him past the legendary Jim Shoulders for the most world championships held by a single competitor. The hefty $50,649 he won as he locked up third place in the team roping - heading competition pushed his National Finals Rodeo earnings to just over $1.5 million, and his overall lifetime earnings to more than $4.5 million.
Money, Money, Money
The all mighty dollar reigned supreme at this year's NFR, as money records fell across the board. Rookie barrel racer Mary Walker broke the National Finals Rodeo earnings record in her sport with a total of $146,941, surpassing the record set by Sherri Cervi by a mere $843. Tie-down roper Tuf Cooper was hoping to set a record for being the youngest cowboy to ever earn $1 million, but he fell short by less than $5,000. The $108,404 he made at this year's NFR brought his career earnings total to $995,249. Ty Murray still holds the record for this feat, crossing the million-dollar mark at the age of 23 years and 9 months, but this record will likely fall since Cooper doesn't even turn 23 until January 31st. Team roping also had a banner year, with all of the top 14 competitors in both the heading and heeling category making over $100,000 during the 2012 season.
It's All About The Wins
Winning is the name of the game at the National Finals Rodeo, and win records fell like flies during the 2012 season. Luke Branquinho won in the 4th go, making a total of 21 NFR go-round wins, pushing him past Ote Berry for the most round wins in the tie-down roping event. Cody Ohl nailed down two round wins, giving him a total of 44 NFR event round wins. 2012 World Champion bull rider Cody Teel became the second-youngest cowboy to earn this achievement at 20 years and 6 months. Bill Kornell still holds the record for taking the 1963 world championship crown at the tender age of 19 years old, but Teel certainly isn't far behind. The bulls in this year's NFR were much more successful than the cowboys, averaging a 72% buck-off rate during the 10-day Finals. 9 of the 15 bull riders paid at least one visit to the Justin Sportsmedicine tent, some with multiple injures during this year's event. Thankfully, none of the injuries were life-threatening and everyone went home safe. Looking Ahead While the 2012 season ended less than a month ago, cowboys and cowgirls are already hitting the road for the 2013 season. Next season actually started in October for most cowboys, and competitors are racking up wins and prize money across the country in the hopes of making it to next year's NFR. January's National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver is on the agenda for most serious competitors, as is the Southwestern Stock Show and Exposition held in Houston at the end of January. Big or small, every check is a step toward the glory that will be the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.