After five rounds of team roping action at the 2016 National Finals Rodeo, this year is proving to be as exciting and suspenseful as we all thought it would be. The 2016 team roping field is a well rounded mix of veterans and fresh faces competing under the bright lights.
One team in particular that is catching everyone’s attention is Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. If you didn’t know these Canadians before, you do now. They came out guns blazing in Round 1 winning on their first steer they ever ran in the Thomas and Mack. They also are the first all Canadian team to ever qualify in NFR team roping history. They cinched their second round win last night splitting it with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira with a 4.00. The pay out ended up at $23,481 a man. If you can believe it, this was Junior Nogueira’s first round win on his 25th steer at the NFR.
We caught up with Levi and Jeremy after the rodeo. This road to the NFR has been a long time coming. They both rope outstanding and have more than earned their place here. Levi won the Canadian Finals Championship in 2011 and 2014. Jeremy started roping later than most do in the sport, and at 17-18 years old he was a #4 heeler. What a testament to hard work pays off. 2009 was a turning point in Jeremy’s career when he won $109,000 at the World Series Finale in Las Vegas when he was in college. What made it even more special was it was with fellow Canadian Classic team member and his brother, Clint Buhler. Needless to say Las Vegas has been good to Jeremy. We asked Jeremy how the NFR compared to that once in a lifetime win:
“It was different then because I was so broke and it was so special because it was with my brother. We had grinded so hard in the practice pen to get to that point and to get some luck at that deal and win that amount of money was life changing. This is special because it is every little kid’s dream. We have practiced so hard and it feels great to be here.”
Jeremy has been getting a lot of limelight and is frequently accompanied with the #FearTheBeard tagline for obvious reasons. Major league baseball has Dallas Keuchel, the NBA has James Harden, and now team roping has Jeremy Buhler! But what hasn’t been as talked about and should be is his horsemanship, there is a lot more to Jeremy than just the beard. He trains and owns great horses. He has ridden his dunn gelding Rick James all five rounds and also owns a great bay horse he calls “Fabbio”, who he rode all summer. He is also very involved with the Canadian rope horse futurities, rode and trained this year’s Northland’s Canadian Rope Horse Futurity Champion “Alabama Twix”. Safe to say this NFR isn’t the last time you will hear the name, Jeremy Buhler. He’s just getting started.
We don’t want to neglect his partner Levi Simpson, he doesn’t officially have a hashtag yet, but he definitely has a baby face….this could start a trend. Levi is your all around family man. He and his wife, Rebecca, have a 10 month old daughter named Annie, and while time apart and a year on the road was a grind, the finals has proved it was worth it. We asked Levi what his favorite part of the South Point stage was:
“Most of the time I like the interview and talking, the first time I was on Flint’s stage I was nervous. I haven’t been that nervous in a long time, but he didn’t give us too hard of a time. Last night was fun because we were able to keep Annie awake the whole time. She played with bull rider’s Scottie Knapp’s little girl who is just a couple months older and it was fun.”
Levi and Jeremy have won $66,058 so far at the halfway point and are 7th in the average. Junior has won $51, 250 and is second in the average. We are proud of the Classic team and are excited for the next 5 rounds!