An Okotoks team roper is heading to Canada’s biggest rodeo dance for the seventh time, but this time he’s bringing a partner for the second time.
“For some reason I have changed partners quite frequently, but this is the second year I have roped with Rocky (Dallyn) and he is the first person I have made it to the CFR more than once,” said Okotoks’ Clint Buhler.
Buhler, a header, is teaming up with heeler Dallyn for the Canadian Finals Rodeo Nov. 8-12 in Edmonton. Buhler is in fifth-place among headers at $18,570, approximately $10,000 behind leader Ponoka’s Levi Simpson.
It’s Buhler’s job to rope the steer’s head then Dallyn grabs the two back heels.
“The reason I head is because I have an outstanding good head horse,” Buhler said. “He (Festus) makes my job easy and if I can head for a guy like Rocky, rather than compete against him, I will take that opportunity every time.”
Dallyn won an Olympic gold medal as a team roper when rodeo was an exhibition sport for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Practice helped make a perfect partnership.
“I was going to practice at his place and Rocky didn’t have a partner and neither did I,” Buhler said. “He asked me in the fall of 2015 if I wanted to rope with him and we have been going ever since.”
More recently he teamed up with Buhler to win the Okotoks Pro Rodeo in late August to help secure an invite to the CFR.
“That was the first time I have ever placed in Okotoks,” said Buhler, who has lived in the area since 2007. “We drew a great steer and had a great run.
“It’s always great to win in front of your own hometown.”
Although, he’s $10,000 behind the leader, that’s all in a day’s work at the CFR.
“I have gone into the CFR in first-place — won season leader — and I left number three,” Buhler said. “I have also gone in to there in last place.
“With $11,000 going to the winner every night, anything can happen.”
(Buhler and Dallyn were fourth in the Nov. 8 run, to pick up $4,000. The Simpson duo was out of the money. Buhler now sits approximately $10,600 behind the new top header Dustin Bird).
After six years trying to head a steer at the finals, he’s feeling more relaxed every time he goes behind the barrier in Edmonton.
“I get a little more comfortable and a better idea of what works and what doesn’t,” Buhler said. “The first year you go, you are just nervous and excited to be there. After each year, you are still excited to be there, but it is not as much as an unknown of what you are getting into.”
He knows full well what he is going into this year — the best teams to hit the old arena since the Gretzky-Messier Oilers.
“This should be the best team roping that has ever been there given the teams that have qualified this year,” Buhler said.
It’s no coincidence Buhler and Dallyn are from the Foothills area – it’s a hotbed for roping.
“This is a great place to live right around this Okotoks-High River area,” Buhler said. “You can rope just about every day. There are roping clubs all over the place, there are more indoor arenas all the time – this is a roper’s paradise.”
The other competitor from the Foothills area is Jordan Hansen, the reigning CFR bull riding champion.