When Jeremy Buhler rode into the Thomas and Mack Center to rope for the first time at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), fans took quick notice of his beard. It wasn’t long until they were paying more attention to his heeling ability than his signature facial hair.
Jeremy, from Arrowwood, Alberta and his team roping partner, Levi Simpson, from Ponoka, Alberta, became the first all-Canadian team ropers to compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year. They went on to become the first Canadians to win gold buckles.
It was not the first time that Jeremy has roped and had success in Las Vegas however. In 2009 with just $30 in his checking account, he and his brother, Clint, won over $100,000 each at the World Series of Team Roping Finale.
Jeremy moved from British Columbia to Alberta making it more convenient to rope with Levi. In 2015, they finished in the top 25 in the world standings and while it didn’t get them into the NFR, it did qualify them for the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo where they earned over $15,000 each. That put them on track for the NFR where Jeremy entered in 12th place.
They set the pace winning the first round. They went on to tie for the fifth and tenth round wins and place in four others. They won the average and $186,000 and left with the gold buckles.
Jeremy’s beard started as a bet – that he lost. He had to grow a beard for 2 months. That was 2 years ago. He is determined and does what he says and then some. When he was five years old, he wrote down a goal of qualifying for the NFR in the bareback riding. He was a spectator during that event, but still accomplished his goal and then some leaving as the 2016 world champion.
Favorite movie: It changes a lot, but pretty much always been The Cowboys. That has consistently been my favorite. Bonus that Clay O (Clay O’Brien Cooper) is in it. He’s one of my heroes.
Favorite current TV show: I don’t have TV. I rarely watch it, no satellite at home or on the road. I actually like not having TV. It allows me to focus on my own life and not get caught up on what’s going on in other peoples.
Dogs or cats: Probably dogs but I like cats. We have a little dog named Randy, he’s a mini blue heeler. And, we have an Akita named Tony. He spends his winters in Canada, he’s not a warm weather dog.
Favorite dessert: The cookie sundae at Gallaghers Sports Grill in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Favorite card or board game: Stook. We play it everywhere, but I learned in Canada. We’ve kind of got a Stook circle going in Arizona. We get together and play, sometimes during slack they’ll get a game going. When the stakes get high I get out.
Favorite sport, other than rodeo: Basketball – Without TV, I don’t really keep up with it, but we play it on Xbox a lot.
If you weren’t in rodeo, what would you be doing: I’d seriously be playing guitar in a band. I’ve been taking lessons from a good friend of mine, Mark Coffey, in Arizona.
Best childhood memory: Roping the Fast Lane (roping dummy) with my brothers and sister.
Favorite thing you like about Las Vegas: The whole atmosphere in and out of the arena. There’s nowhere else on earth like it.
What do you like to do in your spare time: Play the guitar – I like to golf a little bit. Me and Levi go in spurts. We play a lot then I get frustrated and I have to take a break from it.
My role model is: Clay O’Brien Cooper – You can tell that he lives a good balanced lifestyle. He’s been very successful in his career, but more impressive is who he is outside of the arena.
What would people be surprised to learn about you: I’m from Canada and I can’t skate at all.
Best travel partner: It would have to be Levi. We’ve traveled together for two years and have never had any cross words. We both know that we are supposed to be having fun out here, we know how hard each other works and we have a mutual respect for each other.
Music: I like Metallica a whole lot. AC/DC – Classic rock. Absolutely no pop country. I like classic country and classic rock. I guess I’m more of a classic kind of guy.
Favorite Horse: Rick James, the horse that I rode at the finals. His registered name is LH Frosbite Olena. He’s a 16- year-old gelding that has gotten me to where I am today. He’s not perfect, but he’s let me win at all levels. He worked really well in Vegas. He likes those small set ups.
If you could live anywhere where would it be: I like the way my life is right now. We just signed the papers on a place in Cave Creek, Arizona and that’s where I’ll be in the winter. Then I’d like to summer in Mossleigh, Alberta. I’ve lived there for eight or nine years. It’s a great place for roping.
Best thing about being from Canada: Representing Canada at the Wrangler NFR as the first all-Canadian team was an honor. Then, to win a world championship was really cool. I feel like Levi and I are blazing a trail and I hope that we can inspire other Canadians to rodeo more.
Best thing about your girlfriend – Katie Waterston – We’ve been together five years. We’ve known each other since we were kids and she is really supportive. She is a really tough header and she gets everything about what we do and what it takes.