King of the Cowboys Trevor Brazile of Texas Wins All Around Champion title at the 108th Pendleton Round-Up to break Yakima Canutt’s 1923 record
Trevor Brazile might be excused for failing to excel as he once did. He’s been nominated the King of Cowboys for his phenomenal rodeo career—he has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the world series of rodeo, 50 times and has titles there 23 times, far beyond other competitors. But here he came again, on Saturday, the final day of the 108th Pendleton Round-Up to capture the All Around title for the sixth time, thus eclipsing the record of Yakima Canutt set in 1923.
Canutt, born in November, 1895, went on to a stellar movie career after beginning as a cowboy and rodeo star. He first won the Round-Up All Around title 101 years ago, in 1917, when he was 21. And he set the record in 1923 with his fifth Round-Up All Around title when he was 27. And Trevor Brazile? He’s 41.
But there was Brazile for the sixth time on Saturday, racing around the arena track on his horse after picking up his prize money, championship saddle and silver buckle and all the other swag that the Pendleton Round-Up awards to its champions. Maybe Brazile will wander down to Hollywood, where he can find Yakima in the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame as well as on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But whereas Yakima Canutt was a saddle bronc and bulldogging competitor Brazile has remained a roper throughout his career, where even rodeo tends toward specialization. As a roper he’s done exceedingly well, particularly since longevity tends to favor ropers more than it does those who ride rough stock, the bucking side of rodeo.
Canutt begin his Hollywood career in 1920 and went on to perform in nearly 350 movies over 50 years. He died in 1986.
In 2008 Brazile became the first competitor in the history of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to earn more than $3 million in competition. More recently he became the first to pass $6 million. In June of this year Smithsonian magazine featured Brazile and his rodeo competitor wife, Shada, in an article titled the First Family of Rodeo. The article described him thus, “His name is Trevor Brazile. He is a modest man of 41, a prodigy in autumn, with boyish dimples, an eroding jawline, the compact physique of a hockey player, 5-5oot-10 in his roomy, square-toed cowboy boots.”
Rodeo announcer Wayne Brooks, a regular at the Round-Up echoed the article, introducing the new All Around Champion as one of the “nicest, most modest” All Around Champions anywhere. Brazile competes in three roping events, steer roping, team roping, and calf roping and excels at all.
Today Yakima Canutt and Trevor Brazile share a membership in the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
On Saturday, Brazile finished second in the steer roping, seven-tenths of a second behind winner, Chris Glover, Keenesburg, CO. Glover had 47.5 seconds for three runs of the event over the four days of the rodeo while Brazile had 48.2. In his final run on Saturday, Brazile’s steer ran between a line of photographers on the sidelines, forcing Brazile to avoid running over one of the cameramen and costing him valuable time. But that’s all in a day’s work amid the uncertainty of competing with a running cow and a dashing horse.
In third place on Saturday was Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, TX, with a three run time of 50.8 seconds in steer roping.
In the PRCA’s world standings for this event, Glover is #5, Brazile #6 and Blessing is #12. All should qualify as one of the 15 ropers eligible in the event for the WNFR, held in December in Las Vegas.
Results in other events:
Bareback riding is the first event to kick off every day’s Round-Up during the four-day competition. It’s a sudden start, with the rider and his horse bursting from a chute to the blare of loud rock music thumping in the dozens of speakers lining the arena grandstands. Which gets the adrenaline going and pumps up the crowd as it also tests the cowboy.
Orin Larsen, Inglis, MB, rode his horse, Yipee Kibitz, to victory on Saturday and to victory in the overall results of the rodeo, where every finalist has competed multiple times over the several days of the rodeo to reach what rodeo calls the aggregate. Larsen had a score of 88.5 Saturday and an aggregate over two rides of 168 to win the bareback championship.
Just behind him on Saturday were Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, UT, with 86.5 for the day and an aggregate of 167. In third for the day was Kenny Haworth, Orofino, ID, with 85.5 while Ty Breur, Mandan, ND, was tied with Bennett in the aggregate with 167.
Although Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, IA, and Bennet were both riding Saturday and are #1 and #2 in the PRCA world standings in the event, it was Larsen, #4, in the standings, who excelled at the Pendleton Round-Up this year. Last year the event was won by local favorite, Steven Peebles, Redmond, OR, who also competed this year and had one of the best scores coming into Saturday’s finals but was not able to hold on during his final ride.
Larsen, 27, finished the world standings at 8 last year so he’s moved up and will certainly make the qualification for the WNFR in December in this event. He’s had a good year, winning five rodeos before also winning the Pendleton Round-Up. He said that the Pendleton Round-Up is his favorite rodeo, with its long traditions and grass infield.
J.C. Malone, Plain City, UT, won the calf roping event at the 2015 Pendleton Round-Up with an average time of 9.4 seconds. On Saturday he won it again, this time with an average of 10.4 seconds, one-tenth of a second faster than the 10.5 second average of Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, LA. Malone also had the fastest time on Saturday, 8.6, followed by Dane Kissack, Spearfish, SD, at 10.2, while Hanchey was at #5 on Saturday with 11.4.
The calf ropers have three runs at setting times during the rodeo as long as they continue to catch their calves. They are competing daily based on the time for that day but they also compete on the average of their three times to win the rodeo.
In third, both on Saturday and in the average, was Ty Harris, San Angelo, TX, who finished Saturday with a time of 10.4 and an average for the week of 11 seconds.
Malone is well down in the PRCA standings, at #45, while Hanchey is ranked #3 and Harris is #23. Kissack is #36.
Malone, 33, has competed in the PRCA since 2004 and finished in the world standings at 14th last year, which qualified him to compete in the WNFR, which is not going to happen this year. He finished at 7th in the WNFR last year, the only time he has qualified for the WNFR. Before entering the professional ranks, he had won the Utah high school championship in calf roping and steer wrestling.
SADDLE BRONC RIDING
Add a saddle and stirrups to the bareback riding event and you’ve got bronc riding. The bronc rider is the symbol of the Pendleton Round-Up captured in its illustrated, copyrighted logo.
Colt Gordon, Comanche, OK, came into Saturday’s finals for saddle bronc riding with a top score of 86.5, the best at the Round-Up so far. But his horse on Saturday, Yesterday’s Delivery, seemed to foretell the result of his finals ride, a 79.5, well behind his best score on Friday. That was well below the score needed for a winning average, which turned out to be 84 in two rides, attained by Jesse Wright, Milford, UT.
Wright was followed by Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, TX, at 83.5 average and in third, Ryder Wright, Milford, UT, with 83.25.
On Saturday, however, Ryder tied his uncle, Jesse, with both getting 85. Ryder is 20, Jesse is 29. Also riding on Saturday was Jake Wright, Milford, UT. In fact, the Wrights are a rodeo industry unto themselves, with seven brothers, plus sons and nephews, riding broncs. Six of them were signed up for this year’s Round-Up.
Jesse Wright has qualified for the WNFR seven times and won one world title, in 2012, after entering the pro rodeo ranks in 2008. He had won seven rodeos this year before winning the Round-Up title, which he had also won in 2016. In fact, Wrights have won the bronc riding title at the Round-Up now for five of the past nine years, starting with the Round-Up’s centennial year of 2010, won by Cody Wright, Jesse’s 41-year-old brother, who did not enter this year’s Round-Up.
BULLDOGGING (STEER WRESTLING)
After the amazing 4.1 seconds time posted on Thursday by former professional football and Super Bowl veteran Bear Pascoe, now a rodeo bulldogger, it seemed he would have to appear at Saturday’s finals, but that was not to be, given his time for his first attempt to wrestle a steer earlier in the week, which did not go well.
Instead, the best time managed on Saturday was 4.9 seconds by Andy Weldon, Greenleaf, ID, which allowed him to finish 4th over all in the aggregate with a time of 21.3 for three runs. Second on Saturday was Nick Guy, Sparta, WI, at 5.5 seconds. Guy finished third in the aggregate for the week with 19.7. Regional favorite Jesse Brown, Baker City, OR, finished in a tie with Guy on Saturday, at 5.5 seconds but finished second in the aggregate at 18.1 seconds for three outings. In first for the week, with an aggregate of 16.3, was Sterling Lambert, Fallon, NV, whose Saturday time of 5.6 made him 4th for the day.
Lambert, 32, raised the number of rodeos won this year to two with his victory at the Pendleton Round-Up. He finished 23rd in the PRCA standings last year and is 30th currently although he could jump to the low 20s with his money won at the Pendleton Round-Up, which he calls his favorite rodeo because of “all of its history and prestige”.
Header Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, TN, and his partner, heeler Tyler Worley, Berryville, AR, had the best time in Saturday’s team roping final event, capturing their steer in five seconds but then having to wait through six competing teams. Any of those six could have beaten Masters/Worley since all six came into Saturday’s event with better aggregate scores from previous outings earlier in the week. But one by one they ran into problems, one breaking the barrier for a five second penalty and two catching only one hind foot of the steer for a five second penalty and two not catching the steer at all until finally it was time for the two winners to celebrate winning both the event on Saturday and the overall aggregate, 18.1, for the week.
In the event on Saturday they were followed by Colton Campbell, Klamath Falls, OR/Jordan Ketscher, Squaw Valley, CA, tied with a time of 6.1 with Garrett Rogers, Baker City, OR/Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, AZ.
In the aggregate for the week second place went to Lane Ivy, Dublin, TX/Buddy Hawkins II, Columbus, KS with 19.6, while Rogers/de la Cruz retained third place in the aggregate as well, with 19.9 seconds.
In the PRCA standings Masters is #11 among headers while Rogers is #28 and Ivy is #23. Among their heeler partners, Worley is #34, de la Cruz is #50 and Hawkins is #23.
Masters seems to have the best chance of qualifying for the WNFR.
Masters, 37, finished 6th in the world standings last year and has won two titles at the WNFR, in 2006 and 2012. He and his then partner Joseph Harrison won three rodeos this year before he won here at the Pendleton Round-Up. Masters won the title at the Round-Up in its centennial year, 2010, with then partner Jade Corkill.
Of the heelers who finished at or near the top, de la Cruz is the only one to have won previously at the Round-Up, in 2011 and 2013. He also shares the record for best time in the event at the Pendleton Round-Up, 4.8 seconds in 2008. He finished 2017 #42 for heelers.
Jordan Wacey Spears’ bull Hot Axe was misbehaving in the chute Saturday, forcing the bull rider from Redding, CA, to pause in the lineup while several of his competitors rode their bulls. The delay may have helped. That Spears stayed on his bull the full eight seconds, while others left theirs in as little as 1.7 seconds, was the key to victory. When he returned aboard Hot Axe, the bull and Spears posted the only score of the day, an excellent 86. Eleven of his competitors just couldn’t hang on.
Even Sage Steele Kimzey, currently #1 in the PRCA world standings, couldn’t stick to his bull for more than 6.5 seconds. Announcer Wayne Brooks said he would have bet his last $1,000 that Kimzey would finish his ride.
Spears won the title with a two-ride aggregate of 166. He was followed in a two-way tie by Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, ID, and Koby Radley, Montpelier, LA, both with 85.5 in one ride. Tied behind them were Kimzey, Strong City, OK, and Gumby Wren, Sidney, IA, both with 83.5 in one ride.
In the PRCA world standings where Kimzey is ranked #1, Spears is #22, Jarboe is #7, Radley is #18 and Wren does not appear in the top 50 rankings.
Spears, 26, has qualified for the WNFR three times but has yet to win a title there. His victory at the Pendleton Round-Up brings his total for this year to seven rodeos won and the possibility of qualifying again for the WNFR. He entered professional rodeo five years ago, after earlier winning the California high school All Around Championship in 2010.
In barrel racing, the only PRCA sanctioned women’s event at the Round-Up, Cheyenne Allan, Mabton, WA, came in second for the day on Saturday, but won the overall rodeo based on her aggregate time for two runs. Allan had just come from a title win at the Lewiston Roundup rodeo the previous week. She also won the High Desert Stampede in Redmond, Oregon, the first rodeo of 2018 in the Columbia River circuit.
The Round-Up has the longest barrel racing course of any professional rodeo. The Round-Up arena has a large grass infield, unique among rodeo performance venues. An oval dirt track surrounds the grass. To avoid having the horses slip in the grass when they make their galloping turns, the barrels are placed in the dirt track, requiring a long run across the grass that doubles the time of most barrel race courses. Not every horse takes well to the change from a routine course.
For the day Allan achieved a time of 28.62, behind the 28.47 seconds achieved by Kacey Gartner, Walla Walla, WA. In the aggregate the two women changed places with Allan leading with 57.38 for her two rides, over Gartner at 57.40 seconds. In third place, both for the day’s performance and for the week’s aggregate, was Jolene Douglas-Hoburg, Kennewick, WA, with 28.76 for the day and 57.49 for the aggregate.
In 2017 Allan finished at the Round-Up with an aggregate of 58.51. The difference of 1.13 seconds from her 2017 to 2018 performance brought her from 9th place last year to the title this year. Allan is #2 in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Columbia River Circuit Standings, with 26, now 27, rodeos attended, more than any other member of the circuit. At #1 in the Columbia River circuit is Teri Bangart, Olympia, WA, who finished fourth at this year’s Round-Up.
Allan and her husband, Randy, raise and train horses at their Slash Diamond Ranch in the Yakima Valley between Mabton and Sunnyside, WA. She rides the horses they breed and train.