Born in Whitetop, Virginia, in 1906, Earl Blevins grew up a coal miner. After leaving the mines to “go west” in 1918, he found work on a Montana ranch. Within a few years the unlikely cowboy became a top hand on ranches in Wyoming and Montana.
In the 1930s Earl Blevins actively competed in professional rodeos, but his career was interrupted by World War II. In 1942 he joined the Coast Guard, and he represented the U.S. Navy in several rodeos each year. During his military stint he invented a very popular stirrup buckle, which he manufactured for cowboys for two decades.
Over his career Earl Blevins garnered 65 first-place awards in bulldogging, winning at Denver in 1940 and competing in Madison Square Garden. He retired from competition in the 1940s and ranched in Wyoming, where he died in 1994.