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Feb 18th
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Home Things to Do Rodeos Trevor Brazile, Other World Champions Crowned at Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

Trevor Brazile Clinches His Sixth Career All-Around Title

Trevor Brazile, Other World Champions Crowned at Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

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Gold buckle dreams came true for a very select group of PRCA contestants at the 2008 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held Dec. 13 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., which also marked the 50th anniversary for the National Finals event.

In front of 17,879 applauding and cheering fans, Justin McDaniel, Luke Branquinho, Matt Sherwood, Randon Adams, Cody Wright, Stran Smith, Lindsay Sears and J.W. Harris all earned the title of World Champion, a feat they said they will never forget.

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The 50th anniversary ProRodeo event also saw Trevor Brazile clinch his sixth career all-around world title. The achievement ties Brazile with rodeo ledgends Larry Mahan and Tom Ferguson as six-time world champion all-around cowboys. Brazile is now within reach of rodeo champion Ty Murray's all-time record of seven all-around world titles.

Brazile also became the first PRCA cowboy to cross the $3 million mark in career earnings, overtaking ProRodeo Hall of Famer Joe Beaver for the No. 1 spot on the earnings list and finishing the 2008 season with $3,027,539 in career earnings.

The 2008 WNFR World Champions are:

  • All-Around: Trevor Brazile
  • Bareback Rider: Justin McDaniel
  • Steer Wrestler: Luke Branquinho
  • Header: Matt Sherwood
  • Heeler: Randon Adams
  • Saddle Bronc Rider: Cody Wright
  • Tie-Down Roper: Stran Smith
  • Barrel Racer: Lindsay Sears
  • Bull Rider: J.W. Harris

At this year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, McDaniel, of Porum, Okla., won his first bareback world title in record style, setting a new Wrangler NFR average record of 859 points on his way to $126,292 in Wrangler NFR earnings and $216,967 in season earnings. He was happy as can be after claiming his first gold buckle in just his second Wrangler NFR.

"It's indescribable," McDaniel said. "I've been waiting for this my whole life. Today is the best day of my life. This week I came in here in 10th place, and I knew I had to dang sure jump out there in the first round and place high and be consistent in every round to catch those guys. The Lord blessed me with the right horses all week, and I felt like I rode pretty well, so I'm just tickled to death."

McDaniel's traveling partner, Steven Dent, finished second in the final Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings with $210,799, while 2007 World Champion Bobby Mote finished third with $205,592. Tilden Hooper won the 10th round with a 90-point ride on Classic Pro Rodeo's Scarlet's Web to finish a rough Wrangler NFR on a high note. Dent and Mote needed to win the round to have a chance at the world title, but finished fifth and 10th, respectively, in the round.

Steer wrestler Luke Branquinho knows what it's like to win a gold buckle, claiming a world title in 2004, and he added another world championship to his resume in 2008. Branquinho finished second in the 10th round to Trevor Knowles with a 3.7-second run to clinch the Wrangler NFR average title and secure his second gold buckle of the decade. Branquinho, of Los Alamos, Calif., finished the season with a PRCA record $242,018 in earnings, while 2006 World Champion finished second in the world with $171,130. He is the first steer wrestler to win multiple world titles since Ote Berry (1990-91).

He had a hard time describing his emotions after winning the title.

"I couldn't even tell you," Branquinho said of how he felt. "It's kind of a relief, actually. I didn't sleep very well last night, wondering what could happen. I had a good steer, and I knew I had a chance to win good money on him in the go-round, which would have taken care of the average. It's a great honor."

Knowles, of Mount Vernon, Ore., won at least a share of the last four rounds to finish with $87,350 in Las Vegas, second among steer wrestlers behind only Branquinho's $111,238. Branquinho placed in eight of 10 rounds en route to his second gold buckle.

Stiff Team Roping Competition

Team roping was one of the most hotly contested events throughout the 10 days of the Wrangler NFR, and the race for the world titles came down to the wire.

In the end, 2006 World Champion Header Matt Sherwood and partner Randon Adams won the coveted gold buckles, finishing fourth in Round 10 to clinch the world titles with PRCA record earnings of $189,568. Sherwood, of Pima, Ariz., finished ahead of six-time and reigning World Champion All-Around Cowboy Trevor Brazile, who won the Wrangler NFR average in 60.1 seconds with Patrick Smith and earned $163,358 on the season. Adams, of Logandale, Nev., finished ahead of Jade Corkill, who earned $166,673 roping with Luke Brown, in the race for the gold buckle.

"It's unbelievable," said Sherwood, who broke the earnings record set by Chad Masters a year ago. "To be here among the greatest ropers in the world and be crowned the world champion is truly unbelievable. There were several different scenarios that could have played out. We knew that if we just made a smooth run on the last steer, we would win the championship."

Becoming a world champion was a dream come true for Adams.

"It's something I've dreamed of my whole life," Adams said. "I've run that last steer a million times in my mind and in the practice pen. It was great to finally do it for real. I don't know if it's really hit me yet. I think it will once I get my buckle. It's the greatest feeling ever."

Colter Todd and Cesar de la Cruz won Round 10 in 4.0 seconds, and Brazile and Smith led all team ropers with $90,144 in Wrangler NFR earnings.

Wright Wraps Up Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle bronc riding was decided in Round 9, when Cody Wright wrapped up his first world title after five-time World Champion Billy Etbauer was bucked off. Both cowboys were bucked off in the 10th performance, but no matter, as Wright finished with $247,416 on the season and Etbauer ended up with $204,195. With a day to reflect on his achievement, Wright was appreciative and excited.

"I don't know if it has totally sunk in," said Wright, of Milford, Utah. "Last night, they were saying it (World Champion Cody Wright). Maybe tonight, it will sink in since it's all over. My voicemail filled up right away. Everybody was really excited."

Wrangler NFR rookie Cody Taton won the 10-head average with 720.5 points, while 2007 Wrangler NFR average champion Rod Hay won the 10th round with an 89-point ride on Powder River Rodeo's Wyoming's Miss Congeniality.

The closest final margin came in tie-down roping, where PRCA veteran Stran Smith won the Wrangler NFR average on his way to his first world title by just $2,388 over Hunter Herrin. Brazile, who roped in the final round with a sprained MCL in his right leg, finished third in the standings with $173,087. Smith finished second to Jeff Chapman in Round 10 to clinch the average and win the gold buckle with $181,401 in season earnings.

To say he was satisfied at the end of Round 10 would be an understatement.

"Words can't even describe it," Smith said of his first world title. "To win the average and win the world, and having it come down to the 10th calf is just one of those things. I had this exact same thing happen in 2004. It came down to the 10th round. I won the round and ended up losing the championship by less than $2,000. What I want to say to people is, ‘Never give up.' I'm excited for my family, my wife and everybody who has been supporting me, backing me and praying for me. It's an amazing thing."

Smith earned $42,999 for winning the Wrangler NFR average, while Herrin finished ninth in the average and did not earn any average money. He finished the Wrangler NFR with $89,243 in 10 days, most among tie-down ropers.

Consistent Bull Riding Performance

J.W. Harris was the most consistent bull rider at this year's Wrangler NFR, riding six bulls for 507 points to win the average, and with it, his first world title. He edged season-long standings leader Chance Smart $208,437 to $197,225 after earning $96,364 in Las Vegas. Smart rode just three of his 10 bulls at the Wrangler NFR and earned only $36,644 on his way to a second-place finish.

Harris, of May, Texas, was on top of the world after walking off the world champions' stage.

"I don't think it's really sunk in yet," Harris said. "It's my childhood dream, and that's what I've worked for my whole life. To finally actually get the buckle given to me, it's pretty nice."

Barrel racer Lindsay Sears clinched her first world title after Round 8, so the only question remaining in that event was how much the Canadian would win and how high she would set the season earnings record bar. Sears, of Nanton, Alberta, finished the season as the sport's first $300,000 barrel racer, earning $323,570 in 2008 while claiming the gold buckle. Her horse, Martha, was named AQHA Barrel Racing Horse of the Year, and Sears has been more than complimentary when talking about the talented horse.

"I'm very honored and very proud to be Canadian today, and it means a lot to get the first barrel racing world championship that we get to take home to Canada," said Sears, who finished third in the Wrangler NFR average.

Sears won five of the 10 rounds in Las Vegas, including four in a row from Rounds 6-9, to pocket $139,002 at the Wrangler NFR. Jill Moody of Letcher, S.D., won the Wrangler NFR average with a total time of 140.11 seconds, earning $104,117 in Las Vegas to finish a distant second to Sears with $218,880 in total earnings. Terra Bynum won the 10th round in 13.70 seconds to finish her 2008 Wrangler NFR on a high note.

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