NFR Live

NFR Live in Las Vegas officially underway.LAS VEGAS The 60th annual National Finals Rodeo is this month at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.The $10 million Wrangler NFR, which was scheduled for Dec. 6-15, will help determine the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association 2018 world champions.

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Defending world all-around champion Tuf Cooper, who has residences in the North Texas communities of Decatur and Weatherford, entered the NFR ranked No.1 in the 2018 world all-around title race with $239,857. Brazile, a 23-time world champion, is ranked No. 2 with $234,154. Both Cooper and Brazile have qualified for the WNFR in tie-down roping.

How to watch the PRCA National Finals Rodeo

  • Dates: Dec. 6 – Dec. 15
  • Live channel: CBS Sports Network (United States)
  • Live stream: ProRodeoTV.com (Canada, international)

Brazile said he will attempt to rope solid throughout the NFR. In other words, if Brazile draws a difficult calf, he will not take too big of a risk, which could result in a no time or a very sluggish time that could be detrimental in the long run. But if he draws a calf that apparently can help him place in a round, he will aggressively attempt to take advantage of the situation.

“I’m not going to try to win day monies, but I’m not going to miss an opportunity to win that much money every night either,” he said. “It will be whatever the situation allows me to do.”

Each of 10 rounds will offer competitors in every event $26,231 for a first place finish. The average winner in each event, the competitor who finishes with the best aggregate time or score after competing in 10 rounds, will earn $67,269.

For Cooper and Brazile, rodeo is a family affair. Cooper is the son of Hobbs, N.M., native Roy Cooper, an eight-time world champion, lives in Decatur. His mother is Shari Cooper who is a daughter of Clifton Smith of Childress who qualified for the National Finals in tie-down roping in 1960 and 1962, and is the father of 2008 PRCA world champion tie-down roper Stran Smith of Childress.

Tuf Cooper and Brazile have a brother-in-law relationship. Brazile is married to Cooper’s sister, Shada Brazile, who qualified for the 2013 National Finals in barrel racing.

Trevor Brazile announced he will semi-retire from pro rodeo and will greatly reduce his traveling schedule next year, according to a Dec. 4 news story on prorodeo.com.

Trevor and Shada Brazile have three children (Treston, 11, and daughters, Style, 8, and Swayi, 3). Brazile said a much lighter rodeo schedule will allow him to spend more time with his family.

Jeff Askey of Athens has earned his second NFR berth in bull riding. He also qualified in 2016. Askey entered the NFR ranked No. 6 in the PRCA’s title race with $117,387. Defending PRCA champion Sage Kimzey entered the WNFR ranked No. 1 in the title race with $307,026.

Eli Vastbinder, a former Athens resident who lives in Union Grove, N.C., has earned his first NFR berth in bull riding. He entered the Las Vegas championships ranked No. 14 in the PRCA title race with $105,114.

Hashtags, a blue roan colored stallion, became a big hit last year on the National Cutting Horse Association’s aged event circuit, which features horses ages three through six.

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