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April 19, 2014

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2013 Wrangler NFR photos: Trevor Brazile stops by ACAs; captures 19th gold buckle in Round 6

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Trevor Brazile became the most decorated cowboy in rodeo history when he claimed his 19th championship gold buckle in Round 6 of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV.

2013 Wrangler NFR: Round 6

Trevor Brazile became the most decorated cowboy in rodeo history when he claimed his 19th championship gold buckle in Round 6 of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV. Launch slideshow »

2013 Wrangler NFR: Round 6

2013 Wrangler NFR: Round 5

Round 5 of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV. Launch slideshow »

He was an unknown cowboy to many of the millions watching the 2013 American Country Awards when he was the first presenter on Tuesday night’s two-hour Fox telecast from Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Thirty minutes later, though, in another arena across the Strip, millions of rodeo fans across the world recognized Trevor Brazile and screamed and stomped as he became the most decorated cowboy in the history of rodeo.

Being a celebrity presenter with his wife, Shada, may have been fun for him, but taking center stage at the Thomas & Mack marquee event of the 55th annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo meant far more to the legendary roper.

More than 17,300 fans attended the memorable night as 37-year-old Trevor clinched his unprecedented 19th world championship by surpassing one of his childhood heroes, steer roper Guy Allen. He won Round 6 in team roping in 4.8 seconds.

“I’d never have dreamed of setting 19 world championships as a goal because I’m into setting goals I can reach,” said Trevor. “I watched Guy Allen dominate. I wondered how someone could do something as hard as winning a world championship 18 times. I witnessed his dominance firsthand because I was the bridesmaid on many occasions.

“This is a little bit surreal. 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. There are 15 guys in every event here every year, and none of them just lay down and let you have it. This is what we dream about from when we were little.”

His team-roping partner Patrick Smith laughed: “Trevor’s got enough gold buckles that he’s using them for Christmas tree ornaments.” Then he added: “People don’t realize how big a deal Trevor is. When he retires, people will really realize what a legend he is.”

The win extended Trevor’s record for round wins to 55 and pushed his Las Vegas earnings this event to $57,392; he also won $26,462 in the National Finals Steer Roping, which resulted in his 18th world championship. To date in 2013, he has earned $312,579, while his brother-in-law, two-time defending world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper, has $144,743.

Over the course of his incredible career, Trevor has held titles in four events and has claimed 11 gold buckles in the all-around (2002-04, 2006-13), four in steer roping (2006-07, 2011, 2013), three in tie-down roping (2007, 2009-10) and one in team roping (2010).

“Nineteen gold buckles is pretty special. I’m happy, and I’m proud of the sport,” said Trevor. “I know how hard every world championship is to win. I know great cowboys with one world title … or even none. None of them are ever easy. NFR qualifications aren’t easy. I’ve been blessed way more than I could ever believe.”

Rodeo experts said Tuesday night that it’s possible his record might never be broken. A rookie in 1996, Trevor won his first gold buckle in 2002. In the last eight years, he’s captured 16 world championships, including eight consecutive all-around titles.

Tuesday night’s Rookie Night with the Rookie of the Year award winners began with Bonnie Bishop’s opening act, and Neal McCoy performed the national anthem.

The twin Wright Brothers continued their back and forth that we reported Tuesday. Reigning saddle bronc riding world champion Jesse stole back the spotlight from Jake, who won two of the first five rounds. Now Jesse, who had slipped to seventh halfway through the 10-day WNFR, has moved up to fifth place, less than a round win behind his other brother, Cody.

Casey Colletti continued his sensational comeback and won bareback riding for the second night in a row despite tearing a knee ligament in Round 3 and getting bucked off in Round 4.

Taylor Jacob, 23, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year, raced to her third round win in a WNFR record 13.37 seconds, and today celebrates with her mother on a dual bungee jump at the Stratosphere. It jumped her into third place at the WNFR, although she’s not likely to overtake current leader Sherry Cervi.

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for the arena action photos and the WNFR for their assistance with this report. Check back Thursday at Vegas DeLuxe for coverage of tonight’s Round 7.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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