Simpson and Buhler Win First Round at 2016 WNFR
Canadians Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler win go-round number one at the 2016 WNFR.

Photo by Kirt Steinke

Canadians and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo rookies Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler put the team roping world on notice Thursday night in Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Arena, winning Round 1 at the 2016 WNFR on a big, fresh pen of cattle with a time of 4.4 seconds worth $26,230.77 a man. 

Simpson, from Ponoka, Alb., and Buhler, from Arrowwood, Alb., beat out Cut Bank, Montana’s Dustin Bird and Terrebonne, Oregon’s Russell Cardoza for the round win. Bird and Cardoza, who just three weeks earlier took home the Canadian team roping title, were 4.6. 

“I’ve gotten so many texts and calls in the last week from everyone at home,” Simpson said. “It’s pretty awesome to have the whole country and that kind of support,” Simpson said. 

Buhler, soft spoken behind a beard that covers most of his face and all of his neck, was overwhelmed with the enormity of the moment. The impending trip to the South Point’s stage had yet to sink in. 

“I’ve run that steer 10 million times on the Fastlane with my brothers and my sister,” Buhler said. “We’d all watch the finals on TV, it would be minus 10 degrees, and we’d go out to the garage and be all pumped up matching.”

Simpson rode his 20-year-old gelding, Frasier, while Buhler counted on his 15-year-old gelding Rick James. 

Luke Brown and Jake Long tied Riley and Brady Minor for third and fourth with steady 4.9-second runs, indicating they’ll all look to rope smart and stay solid over the 10-round marathon. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira were fifth with a 5.1-second run, maintaining their lead in the PRCA world standings. Coleman Proctor and Billie Jack Saebens, also a WNFR rookie, were sixth. 

Bird and Cardoza are both in the all-around race, which will be one of the most exciting contests of the week. Bull dogger Clayton Hass, who sat fifth in the all-around going into Round 1, split the round to move to fourth. Bird’s second-place finish in the round put him within $130 of leader Junior Nogueira. 


1. Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, 4.4 seconds, $26,230.77 each

2. Dustin Bird/Russell Cardoza, 4.6 seconds, $20,730.77 each

3/4. Luke Brown/Jake Long and Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 4.9 seconds, $13,326.92 each

5. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.1 seconds, $6,769.23 each

6. Coleman Proctor/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.2 seconds, $4,230.77 each

Related Articles
March_24_2023_NFR_R05_TR_Tyler Wade_Wesley Thorp_HRae_002
Standing on Business
Forged From the Fire of Humble Beginnings
Tyler Wade team roping
a look back
Five of Our Favorite Moments from the 2023 NFR
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp
And the Gold Goes To...
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp Are 2023's PRCA World Champion Team Ropers
Tyler Wade Wesley Thorp
Driver's Seat
Tyler Wade & Wesley Thorp Throw Down with 3.5 to Win Round 9, Lead World Into Final Night '23 NFR
Record Speed
Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp Blast Back Into World Title Contention with World-Record-Tying Run