Not a sweet deal: Nebraska cowboy manages diabetes, takes it in stride |

Not a sweet deal: Nebraska cowboy manages diabetes, takes it in stride

Jade Buss team ropes in high school rodeo and takes care of his diabetes issues on his own. The Atkinson youth also competes in high school wrestling. Photo by Jeanne Flannerty-Laible

Nebraska cowboy manages diabetes, takes it in stride

Atkinson, Neb. (May 21, 2018) – At a young age, Jade Buss has learned how to manage his health.

It’s something the seventeen-year-old has been forced to learn, because he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago.

When he was thirteen, the Atkinson youth, a high school rodeo athlete, lost half of his bodyweight and spent two weeks at the hospital in Omaha, as doctors figured out what was wrong.

But the cowboy has taken it in stride. He doesn’t wear an insulin pump, as it would get in the way as he competes in high school wrestling. He gives himself insulin shots every time he eats and at bedtime, and monitors his glucose levels himself as he competes in rodeo and wrestling.

Buss, who just finished his junior year at West Holt High School, is a team roper and tie-down roper in rodeo and wrestles in the heavyweight class. His parents, Jim and Sharlene, both competed in rodeo but Jade loves wrestling more than rodeo. He placed sixth at state in Class D in 2016 and fifth last year. The individuality of the sport appeals to him. “It’s all on yourself,” he said. “It’s how much work you put into it. With rodeo, it’s what steer you draw, and your horse, but with wrestling, it’s how well you prepare for it.”

Buss, who is naturally quiet and reticent, handles diabetes with aplomb. “It was tough to learn but after a while it’s no different than anything else,” he said. “There’s no way around it, really. You learn how to live with it.”

His mom has learned to pack food for him, for wherever he goes. When the family is moving cattle on their ranch, she’ll see Jade start to sweat, a possible sign of low blood sugar. “I’ll say, ‘need a sandwich?’ and he’ll say, ‘if you have one.’ He’s pretty well accepted the whole deal.”

One learning curve they faced was when he began to wrestle. To make weight, wrestlers don’t eat much before competing and Sharlene never thought that Jade wouldn’t have breakfast before a meet. “We learned to pack our own meals,” she said.

He loves to hunt and fish, and would love to wrestle collegiately if given the chance. He’d like to come back to Nebraska to ranch someday, he thinks. “I doubt I change my mind, but I could be wrong.”

Jade’s responsibility for his blood glucose levels and insulin shots have made him mature beyond his years, Sharlene said. “At this age, he’s out and about and I don’t get to be with him for every meal” to monitor his health. “With this disease, you learn to grow up real quick.”

Jade has three younger brothers: Cale, twelve, Cort, ten, and Reid, seven, and a younger sister, Brett, who is Reid’s twin.

He has competed at the high school state finals the last two years. He competes in 4-H rodeo and team ropes with his dad at regional rodeos. Jade is a member of the National Honor Society and president of his local 4-H chapter.

The Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo will be held in Hastings at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds June 14-16. Tickets are $7 for everyone ages five and up and are available through the office and at the gate. For more information, visit or, or call 402.462.3247.

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