Brazile will still compete at some of the bigger events, especially the ones close to his home and family in Decatur, Texas, but will no longer chase titles at the "relentless" pace he's kept for two decades to make history and establish his legacy. As his reign of dominance comes to an end, who will be next to wear ProRodeo's most prestigious crown?
The odds-on favorite has to be Brazile's own brother in-law, Tuf Cooper. The 29 year-old cowboy already has the 2017 World Champion All-Around Cowboy gold buckle on his belt,
and finished runner-up in 2018. Cooper has proven he's got game in the Steer Roping event, qualifying for the NFSR each of the last two seasons.
Other contenders include Rhen Richard, the only cowboy who qualified for the WNFR in two events in 2018, and Ryle Smith, who has made the Finals in both tie-down roping and steer wrestling. Caleb Smidt has proven he's got skills with a head rope, but chose to focus on tie-down roping early in his career. Now, with two world titles in his primary event on his resume, will he begin competing full-time in team roping in pursuit of an All-Around championship? Will veteran and perennial WNFR bareback rider Steven Dent start packing his bronc saddle on every trip?
Or, could we see a new "young gun" with versatile talent emerge in 2019? Timed-event hands Marcus Theriot and Tanner Green have shown they can big cash checks in multiple events, but have not yet qualified for the WNFR, where the title will probably be decided. It's no surprise that Stetson Wright can ride saddle broncs, but he can also ride rank bulls,
and has launched into the top end of the early-season standings in that event. The "Game of Thrones" that is ProRodoeo's All-Around race in the 2019 season promises many plot twists and interesting new characters. Watch this space as the weather and the competition heats up.
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