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Five Texas Tech Alumni Compete in National Finals Rodeo

By Jennifer Ritz

For pro-rodeo athletes and their fans, December is the best month of the year. And not just because it’s Christmas.

December ushers in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Established in 1958, the National Finals Rodeo, referred to as the NFR, is the equivalent of the Super Bowl or World Series for the cowboys of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and cowgirls of the WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association). In 2012, it was estimated more than 175,000 people attended the event and the prize pool was more than $6 million.

There are seven Wrangler NFR events and the country’s 15 highest money-winners in each event compete for the world title in their respective events. The seven categories are: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

The Wrangler NFR will air nightly until December 15 on Great American Country/GAC network, starting at 9 p.m. central. Five Texas Tech alumni are competing in this year’s NFR. Tune in to cheer them on–cowboy hats are optional!

Shada Brazile, Decatur, Texas, ’00 BBA Marketing

Event: Barrel Racing
Joined WPRA: 2006 (With breaks taken to have two children, she recently started competing again. Shada’s husband, Trevor Brazile, has won PRCA All-Around Cowboy 10 years, and is competing this year for his 11th. All-Around Cowboys compete in more than one rodeo event. He has been called the best cowboy in the world, as well as the richest.)
WPRA Career Earnings: $91,000

Hunter Cure, Holliday, Texas, ’06 BS Agricultural and Applied Economics

Event: Steer Wrestling
Joined PRCA: 2006
PRCA Career earnings: $345,697

Ryan Gray, Cheney, Wash., ’06 BS Interdisciplinary Agriculture

Event: Bareback Riding
Joined PRCA: 2002
PRCA Career Earnings: $1,222,704

Wes Stevenson, Lubbock, ’08 BS Interdisciplinary Agriculture

Event: Bareback Riding
Joined PRCA: 1998
PRCA Career Earnings: $1,249,036

Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas, ’12 BS Animal Science

Event: Tie-Down Roping
Joined PRCA: 2009
PRCA Career Earnings: $205,951