On the surface, it appears two-time world all-around champion Trevor Brazile is having another world-class season.
Brazile, who reached the $1 million mark in earnings faster than any timed-event cowboy in history, sits No. 1 in the Jack Daniel's World All-Around Standings with $154,825 — more than $34,000 ahead of runner-up Blair Burk. He's No. 12 in the world team roping heading standings ($36,869), No. 7 in tie-down roping ($71,107) and No. 2 in steer roping ($46,850). Brazile appears headed to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in two events and also is a virtual lock to make the National Finals Steer Roping Field.
It seems like Brazile has the race for the world all-around title under control. But the 27-year-old cowboy from Decatur, Texas, isn't satisfied. Far from it.
"I think if you're ever content, you need to quit," Brazile said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy with the position I'm in. But I don't feel 100 percent satisfied with what I've done this year."
Brazile doesn't make any excuses for what he considers a mediocre season. He points the finger for his struggles straight at himself.
"It's nobody's fault but my own," Brazile said. "I just went off a so-so winter, through a so-so spring and followed it through with a so-so summer. I haven't ever been on one of those rolls that I get on where every week I win $15,000 or so.
"I've had some $10,000, $12,000 weeks. They've made up for it a little, but it's not been the usual for me this year."
Yet, there are signs that Brazile's year is picking up, especially in team roping — the event where he faces the biggest challenge in qualifying for the Wrangler NFR.
Brazile and partner Wayne Folmer have won big checks recently in Norco, Calif.; San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and St. Paul, Ore. The turn of events has Brazile more optimistic than he has been all season.
"I'm glad to see it coming back," Brazile said. "I'm not sure where it went. We just had little things keep us from winning. We'd be so close to winning, but the draw would get us or we'd hit a barrier or miss a leg. There are just so many variables in team roping."
The event has a mystique all its own, which can make it difficult to snap out of a slump.
"It's funny," Brazile said. "Team roping can be one of the easiest events when you're winning and by far the hardest when you're losing."
Yet, having success this time of year can build momentum heading into December, which is exactly what Brazile is looking for.
"I'm really glad to know that now that it's crunch time we're winning money when we have to have the money," Brazile said. "That says a lot."
Brazile had plenty of praise for Folmer, who has been a great partner the past two seasons.
"You can read any of the articles written on us the past few years and you know he's really a team player," Brazile said. "That's what it takes being an all-around champion's partner. He knows there are a few sacrifices, but hopefully it will be worth it."