Shada Brazile

by Siri Stevens
Shada Brazile

There will be five first time qualifiers at the Wrangler National Finals this year in the barrel race and each one has a great tale to tell of their journey. None though have the same perspective of Shada Brazile.

You could say that Shada grew up around rodeo but that would be an understatement. Let’s see, she’s married to Trevor Brazile, a 17-time World Champion, including seven consecutive All Around World Championships. Her grandfather is Clifton Smith who qualified for the NFR in the 1960s. Her uncle is Stran Smith, an 11-time WNFR qualifier and a World Champion Calf Roper. Shall we continue? Her brothers are none other than Clif and Tuf Cooper and stepbrother Clint Cooper who combined have 14  WNFR qualifications and two World Championships. Her father is Steve Norris from Colorado Springs, Colo., who is a two time World Champion cutter. Her other grandpa, Bob Norris, owns the famed T-Cross Ranches. See what I mean?

Shada was destined to love horses or at least have every opportunity provided. There is a difference though between what you are provided with and what you do with it. There are many people who are provided ample opportunity but do not have the perseverance and work ethic to succeed. Shada is not one of these individuals.

As the mom of two young children, Treston, 5, and Style, 3, Mrs. Brazile has her hands full. For the past several years since marrying Trevor, she has been his partner on the road never feeling like she was in his shadow. “I’ve never really felt like I was in Trevor’s shadow. We worked together for every one of his gold buckles. I don’t ever feel like I’m just Trevor’s wife. I have been completely comfortable with how it was,” Shada said lovingly.

With several rigs on the road at one time and a husband who competes in three different events, Shada had a full-time job just tending to business. Even when she wasn’t on the rodeo road herself she kept her hand in the barrel racing business.

“After college I didn’t rodeo a whole lot. I would buy a horse here and there. After Trevor and I were married I would take his second and third string head horses and train them and then I would end up selling them. I think that helped me more than anything is training my own. I’ve done it both ways – I’ve bought horses and I’ve trained my own,” Shada said.

After taking some time off to have her children and enjoying every minute of raising them, the desire to barrel race came back, but it wasn’t without heartache. “I bought two horses in October of 2011; that following January I lost two horses in two days. Salmonella got one and another horse crippled himself out in the pasture. Both of those horses were just about ready to go and literally, I was just heartbroken,” she said.

The desire was gone. It wasn’t long though before her husband and friend, Brittany Pozzi would light a fire in her. Probably little did Trevor know how much a quick comment would change things! At the Texas Circuit Finals, a horse that Pozzi was riding caught the attention of the great horseman. Trevor casually asked about the horse and commented that he liked him. A few weeks later, Pozzi would come to stay with the Brazile family during the rodeo at Fort Worth and strike up a conversation with Shada about a horse she had that she felt like Shada should try. Politely Shada shrugged off the suggestion feeling like she wasn’t ready. Persistence on Pozzi’s part about a week later paid off.

“Brittany called and said since she was coming back, she would just throw Dial It in the trailer and I could ride him. I figured it couldn’t really hurt anything so I agreed. I knew the minute I loped him through the pattern that he was perfect. It wasn’t like it was a perfect pattern either – I think he even bucked a little bit, but I just knew,” Shada said. Call it instinct, call it luck, call it whatever you want – Dial It was “it” so to speak. The success didn’t come easy though.

“Dial It was a little wild and crazy when I got him. In fact, I wouldn’t let my kids within 30 feet of him when I got him. He was terrified of cattle and just in general wild,” Shada laughed. “Now, he literally looks for my kids when I take him back to the trailer. They give him treats and honestly, he loves them. I think he’s in his comfort zone when he is at the trailer with them.”

After a full year of seasoning and doctoring injuries, Shada confessed that at the beginning of the 2013 year, it was her goal to make the Wrangler National Finals and come running down the alley at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas.

“I had a good winter and was about seventh in the standings and then things got rough. I put a lot of emphasis on Calgary and I didn’t win anything there. Dial It wasn’t feeling good and it was apparent in his runs. After Cheyenne I had slid all the way to 23rd in the World. After Cheyenne I had to make a decision – either send Dial It home and call it a year or get busy and figure things out. I chose the latter. I can’t say I did it all by myself either. I have a great support team in my mom, my entire family, and my friends. Bambi Robb never missed a beat in helping me figure out what was wrong and how to tend to Dial It,” Shada reflected.

The team did things right and Shada got back on the top of her game. It was a struggle to make the top 15, but Shada never took her foot off the gas and if there is a bet to be made on a barrel racer in Las Vegas, there is no doubt Shada will be prepared.

“I’ve watched the epitome of work ethic in Trevor. The pace in Vegas is something that we have been used to all year. Trevor says we took the busiest rig in all of rodeo and just added another event to it. I guess that’s right. We just do what we have to do to make it happen but it sure doesn’t happen without all of the people that support us. Faith is what gets us through. I know we have a loving God who has a plan for our lives that is much bigger and greater than I can even imagine. I thank Him for blessing our family with this moment and for helping me and guiding me through the year. I didn’t take this challenge on this year to prove anything or for my happiness. I was happy filling my role as wife and mother. I did this because I have a passion for horses and rodeo. I love it and the life it allows for us. I’ll be prepared when I get to Vegas but I don’t have to win to have a storybook ending. It’s already perfect in my eyes. Just making it and riding in the grand entry behind Trevor and the Texas flag…that’s a happy ending and more than enough for me.”

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