AQHA Members Sweep ProRodeo World Titles
Competing in timed events at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, AQHA members claim world championships in Las Vegas.
December 14, 2014
At the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, AQHA member Trevor Brazile, who has a record 21 gold buckles, clinched his 12th all-around world championship – and his ninth straight – in Round 3. He finished with $494,369; it’s the second-highest total in ProRodeo history, and Brazile owns the top eight marks.
Another sensational story involved AQHA member Luke Branquinho, who won his fifth gold buckle despite missing more than two months of the season with an injury. He earned $202,380 in 2014, and won his third WNFR average title with a time of 41.6 seconds on 10 head.
“This one feels good because I sat out two-and-a-half months with an injury and had surgery, so to be able to win it is pretty meaningful to me,” Branquinho said. “Every time you have to have surgery on a tendon repair, there’s a chance you may not come back, but I took the risk and my therapist at home and the doctor that put me back together said everything healed up and looked great.”
Branquinho was atop the world standings when he injured his right lat (latissimus dorsi) muscle July 18 at Rodeo California Salinas. He was sidelined until the WNFR – and had dropped to eighth in the world. The Los Alamos, California, cowboy won checks in the first five rounds of the Finals to take control of the average race and shoot back to first place in the world standings.
“I just tried to get as close to the barrier as I could and throw them all down,” said Branquinho, who earned checks in seven of the 10 rounds. “Drawing good had a lot to do with that.”
Luke Branquinho also won gold buckles in 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2012; he’s just one behind steer wrestling record holder Homer Pettigrew, a ProRodeo Hall of Famer who has six world championships.
He previously won average titles in 2008 and 2011, and said, “I wanted to win the average. There are not many guys who have three average championships.”
All-time leader John W. Jones Sr. won four average titles (1965, 1968-70) while Tom Ferguson (1977-78, 1981) is the only other bulldogger with three average titles.
AQHA members Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill repeated as team roping world champions – Corkill has won three straight gold buckles as a heeler – and broke the earnings record for the year in the event with $220,058. The old record was $202,189 by heeler Patrick Smith in 2010, when his partner, Trevor Brazile, earned $201,392 as a header.
“I knew I was capable of winning multiple championships, but it took me awhile,” said Tryan, who has competed in 13 WNFRs and won a third gold buckle in 2005. “I feel like I gave a few away along the way, and that fuels the fire to make sure you try harder and it doesn’t happen again.
“My goal when I go out and practice every day is to be in the conversation when they’re talking about the best ever. I still have a lot of work to do, and a lot more winning to do, but this is another big step.”
Corkill knew the partners just had to record a qualified time to win the average.
“All I was thinking about was catching two feet,” he said. “We were the only team who had ’em all caught before tonight, and the average alone was worth $48,000. We do this for a living, so the money is the main thing.”
Corkill was also tremendously satisfied to take another victory lap after Round 10.
“This gold buckle makes it all feel real,” he said. “You win (the world) once and it doesn’t sink in. It still wasn’t real for me last year. Three in a row makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing.”
AQHA member Tuf Cooper returned to the top of the tie-down roping world after a year’s absence – he won gold buckles in 2011-2012 – and also won the average with a time of 89.7 seconds on 10 head. Cooper shared the Round 7 win, and finished the season with $241,734.
Cooper knew he could be cautious in Round 10 and wrap up the world title. Brazile finished second and AQHA member Matt Shiozawa was third.
“I just had to go tie one down,” Cooper said. “Those guys (Brazile and Shiozawa) were going for a world title. They weren’t backing off and playing it safe. They wanted a gold buckle just like everybody grows up roping wants, and hats off to them for sticking to that. It’s great (to win the gold buckle and average). It’s such an honor. You want to win a round, you want to win the average and you want to win a world title – and I’m so blessed to do all three in one year.”
This is the first time Cooper has won a gold buckle and the average in the same year. He also won the WNFR average title in 2009.
AQHA member Fallon Taylor won the barrel racing world championship in a close battle with AQHA member Lisa Lockhart. Taylor earned $276,441 and finished second in the average while Lockhart won the average and totaled $265,514.
“Oh, my gosh, I am breathless,” Taylor said. “It was so very close. I give all the credit to (my horse, Flos Heiress) 'BabyFlo.' I am thrilled. I have had such great support. The fans are wonderful. I just wanted to put on a good show for them. It’s such an honor to have competed with such tough competition and still get the win. It’s just so wonderful.”
BabyFlo, the 2013 AQHA-Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Barrel Racing Horse of the Year, is a 2006 sorrel mare by the Flit Bar son Dr Nick Bar and out of Flowers And Money by On The Money Red. BabyFlo, bred by Fallon, is now owned by her mother, Dian Taylor of Ponder, Texas.
Visit www.prorodeo.com for full results from Round 10 and the crowning of the 2014 world champions, plus coverage of the roughstock events.
WNFR Coverage on www.aqha.com/showing
- Round 10 – Competing in timed events at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, AQHA members claim world championships in Las Vegas.
- Round 9 – These AQHA members are poised for Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championships heading into the final round.
- Round 8 – Winning both tie-down and team roping, AQHA member Trevor Brazile, the King of the Cowboys, reigns yet again.
- Round 7 – AQHA members Cody Ohl and Tuf Cooper share the Round 7 tie-down roping title in Las Vegas.
- Round 6 – AQHA members keep their ProRodeo world championship hopes alive December 9 in Las Vegas.
- Round 5 – Stock of AQHA Professional Horsemen Charlie Cole, Jason Martin and Tom and Leslie Lange strike it big December 8 in Las Vegas.
- Round 4 – AQHA members, including Fallon Taylor and "BabyFlo," showed their mettle December 7 at rodeo's Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
- Round 3 – AQHA member Trevor Brazile earns his 21st gold buckle December 6 in Las Vegas.
- Round 2 – AQHA members Turtle Powell and Dakota Kirchenschlager set a team-roping record for the round December 5 in Las Vegas.
- Round 1 – American Quarter Horses take their riders to the top of Round 1 of rodeo's Super Bowl December 4 in Las Vegas.
- 2014 AQHA-PRCA Horses of the Year