|"Buffalo Jim" Barrier|
March 22, 1953
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 6, 2008
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Occupation||Wrestling Promoter, Television Personality, Entrepreneur|
James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier (March 22, 1953 – April 6, 2008), born in Buffalo, New York, was a local wrestling promoter in Las Vegas. His legal struggle with business owner and landlord Frederick "Rick" Rizzolo, who owned land occupied by Barrier's auto repair business, was covered by the media during the early 2000s.
Barrier moved to Las Vegas in 1971, at age 18, from Cleveland, Ohio. He later opened his auto repair shop, Allstate Auto & Marine, on Industrial Road. He operated the business until his death. In the 1980s and '90s, he owned Buffalo Jim's Professional Wrestling School and had a local paid-for TV wrestling show, Jim Wars, that aired on Friday nights. He also wrote a weekly column, "Nuts and Bolts with Buffalo Jim" on auto repair for the now-folded Las Vegas Mercury.
Barrier over the years met many celebrities, including Hulk Hogan and Muhammad Ali. He also had a large collection of celebrity memorabilia, from vehicles to a lock of Elvis Presley's hair. Included in this collection were cars—a Jensen Interceptor—that used to belong to Wayne Newton and a pink Cadillac of Kid Rock's used during the rocker's proposal to Pamela Anderson.
Barrier was known in Las Vegas, because of media coverage, for winning a lengthy court dispute about parking spaces with his neighbor and landlord, Rick Rizzolo, former owner of the Crazy Horse Too gentlemen's club, located next door to Barrier's repair shop. Rizzolo was court ordered to sell the nightclub to satisfy debts. When the business did not sell, the U.S. Marshals Service seized the bar in September 2007, forcing its eventual closure. Rizzolo was released in April 2008 after serving a year in a federal prison on a racketeering and tax evasion conviction in U.S. Federal court. Because of the government taking over the property, Barrier was forced to move. He was unable to secure a new location before he died.
Barrier was a single father of four daughters.
Barrier's body was found on Sunday morning, April 6, 2008. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Barrier was found in a small motel room on Boulder Highway, in an older section of town, lying face up with an empty bottle of valium in the room and his pants pulled down around his ankles. While friends and family have publicly said they believe Barrier was killed, no evidence has been uncovered to back up that premise. The cause of death was ruled accidental, citing dilated cardiomyopathy as the cause of death. Also, Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy released details that cocaine found in his system was a contributing factor. A woman in the hotel with him that night told police that Barrier had had a seizure. A toxicology report revealed 20 mg/mL of GHB in his system, which the coroner said did not contribute to Barrier's death.
- John L. Smith column, 2000, 'Buffalo Jim' even manages to make litigation colorful Archived June 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Las Vegas Mercury: Nuts and Bolts with Buffalo Jim
- Vegas Syndicate: 5/21/06 - 5/28/06
- Las Vegas CityLife: Barrier vs. Rizzolo battle continues
- Rick Porrello's - AmericanMafia.com - Steve Miller - Inside Vegas
- Buyers sign $30 million deal for topless club - Las Vegas Sun
- Crazy Horse Too Must Sel By Midnight - KVBC
- SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Nation - Liquor shut off, strip club stays open pending sale in Las Vegas
- Las Vegas Citylife, "An unlikely hero, a strange death"
- Las Vegas Review-Journal: BEST OF LAS VEGAS 2005
- Police: No evidence ‘Buffalo’ Jim was killed - Las Vegas Sun
- 8NewsNow, "Cause of James 'Buffalo Jim' Barrier's Death Revealed," May 28, 2008
- Las Vegas Sun, "Buffalo Jim Death Ruled Accidental," May 27, 2008
- Las Vegas Sun, Death ruled accidental
- Las Vegas Sun, scroll to last item in story