Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010 | 2:17 p.m.
Last night was the 10th and final round of the 52nd Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center, and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was onsite, as he has been from the very beginning of the competition, to capture the Super Bowl of the rodeo world and history being made. Our friends at ProRodeo.com, the NFR’s official Web site, reported the following:
Trevor Brazile smiled from ear to ear, pumped his fist to the crowd and walked out of the Thomas & Mack Center with his second Triple Crown in four years. The Decatur, Texas, cowboy won the NFR Tie-Down Roping average and finished second with Patrick Smith in the Team Roping average to win world titles in both events to add to his record eighth all-around crown, which he secured in Round 2.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 17,683, Brazile won his first Tie-Down Roping average and first Team Roping Gold Buckle en route to becoming only the third cowboy in Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association history to become a multiple Triple Crown winner, joining Pro Rodeo Hall of Famers Jim Shoulders (1956-58) and Everett Bowman (1935, 1937). He also is the first cowboy to earn $500,000 in a single season, with $507,921.
“It means so much to me because I think everything has gotten so specialized,” said Brazile, who now has 14 world titles. “Nobody shows up and does three events on the same horse anymore because it’s so competitive. That’s why I work my tail off every year -- because of the respect I have for my competition. I don’t take these championships lightly because I know how tough the field was. I’ve been blessed.”
Because of those earnings at the NFR, Brazile won the Wrangler NFR’s all-around title and the inaugural Ram Top Gun Award, which includes a 2011 Ram 3500. Brazile and Smith, the 2005 world champion heeler, won the Team Roping world championship. In the Tie-Down Roping, Brazile finished with $233,827 to claim his third Gold Buckle in that event in four years (2007, 2009).
Bareback rider Bobby Mote, who came into this year’s NFR in fifth place in the PRCA World Standings, won his fourth world title. Nebraska steer wrestler Dean Gorsuch won his second world championship; his first was in 2006. Cody Wright won the head-to-head battle against Wade Sundell to earn his second Saddle Bronc Riding Gold Buckle. J.W. Harris became the first bull rider since Don Gay (1979-81).
Sherry Cervi clinched her third world championship in Round 9 and finished second in the Wrangler NFR average to finish the season with $299,894. “This season’s been outstanding, I can’t even explain it,” Cervi said. “I had momentum going into this year from the Finals last year, and it kept going through the year. My horse (Stingray) has worked outstanding, and I’m very grateful for her. She’s a superstar.”
Jill Moody won the Wrangler NFR average with a record 10-run total time of 138.26 seconds, earning an event-best $133,035 to finish second in the world behind Cervi with $219,686. Her total time broke the previous mark of 138.93 seconds from 1986, the oldest Wrangler NFR average record in the books.
For extensive coverage of the 2010 NFR, including stories, photo galleries and videos, go to Senior Editor John Katsilometes’ countrified The Kats Report -- Kats Goes Cowboy -- at LasVegasSun.com.
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