From Cowboy to Committee: Buffalo Bill Rodeo Leadership has Experience as Contestants as they Produce the Rodeo


The leadership for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte not only produces the rodeo but has experience in the competition arena as well.

Levi Fisher and Justin Thompson, chairman and vice-chairman respectively, are professional rodeo contestants who are putting their backgrounds as rodeo cowboys to good use.

Fisher is a tie-down roper who still competes and lives in Hershey. Thompson is a former steer wrestler who lives in North Platte.

Together, they lead the Buffalo Bill Rodeo team.

Fisher grew up in Crawford and didn’t begin competition till a senior in high school. He attended Chadron State College, competing collegiately, then after graduation, worked at a feedlot near Kearney, a bank in St. Paul, Neb., a bank in North Platte, and in 2005, he and a group started a branch of the Equitable Bank in North Platte. Fisher serves as community bank president of Equitable.

Thompson grew up in North Platte, the son of Jerry Thompson, DVM. He loved high school wrestling and football; rodeo was never on the radar.

But while a student at Colby (Kan.) Community College, the college rodeo coach asked if he’d like to give steer wrestling a try.

He did, and loved it. He competed collegiately at Colby, then at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.

After college, he competed professionally from 1996 to 2008, traveling across the nation.

In 2008, when he tore his ACL, he opened up his insurance agency in North Platte, and his rodeo competition days were over.

Fisher never quit rodeoing, although there were years he didn’t rodeo much while he hauled he and wife Keri’s two daughters to junior high and high school rodeos. An injured knee and broken leg also slowed him down, but he’s still competing, “so long as the girls leave me a horse,” he joked.

Thompson turfed his last steer in 2009; he and wife Missy have three children, ages 18, 16 and 11. Their children aren’t involved in rodeo but ride and work with the family’s cattle herd.

Being a contestant, and now a rodeo committee member, is a benefit, both men think.

“You’ve been to other rodeos,” Fisher said, “and you’ve seen other ways of doing things.”

Thompson agrees. “We’ve been on the contestants’ side of it, and you know the needs there. It helps us see deeper into it. You see how much difference the livestock makes, and the purse money comes into play, too.”

Fisher and Thompson are similar in how they deal with business, they believe.

“The team atmosphere, the work ethic, the personal accountability, that all works in a business, and in a rodeo committee too,” Fisher said. “It’s a business mindset. You definitely have to understand a profit and loss statement. The rodeo has to pay for itself or it’s not going to be viable long-term.”

Both men appreciate how hard fellow committee members work.  

“There’s a lot of experience with everyone on the committee,” Fisher said.

“We have people on the committee who look at things differently, because they come from different industries. It helps with all the things that need to get done.

“We have a fantastic committee that gets things done.”

Fisher has been part of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee since 2007; Thompson served on the NebraskalandDays board from 2013-2017, then became a rodeo board member.

This year’s Buffalo Bill Rodeo is June 12-15 at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. Shows begin at 8 pm nightly at the Wild West Arena in North Platte.

Tickets range in price from $11-$24 and can be purchased online at, at the NebraskalandDays office, and at the gate.

For more information and a complete schedule of NebraskalandDays events, visit the website or call the office at 308.532.7939.