Jim Shoulders

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Jim Shoulders
Born(1928-05-13)May 13, 1928
DiedJune 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 79)
ResidenceHenryetta, Oklahoma
OccupationRodeo star; Rancher
Spouse(s)Sharon (married 1947–2007)

James A. Shoulders (May 13, 1928 – June 20, 2007) was an American professional rodeo cowboy and rancher. He is commemorated at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. At the time of his death, he was one of the most successful contestants in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), having won 16 World Championships, which was the most of any performer at that time.[1] He was known as the 'Babe Ruth of rodeo'.[2] He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and died in Henryetta, Oklahoma.

Rodeo career[edit]

Shoulders won his first bull riding competition in Oilton, Oklahoma at the age of fourteen. He competed until his retirement due to injury at the age of forty-two.[citation needed] His success at competitions included:

  • World All-Around Champion Cowboy Championships (1949, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959).[3]
  • World Bull Rider Championships. (1951 and 1954 to 1959).[3]
  • World Bareback Bronc Rider Championships. (1950 and 1956 to 1958).[3]

Shoulders was the first competitor to win all three events (bareback bronc, bull riding and all-round) at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).[3]

Shoulders set the record of 16 world championships in 1959 when he won his 15th and 16th titles.[4] The record stood for a long time until steer roper Guy Allen matched the record in 2001 after winning his 16th steer roping title. Two years later in 2003, he broke Shoulder's record after winning a 17th title. Allen won his 18th and final record to date in 2004.[5] In 2013, Trevor Brazile won another all-around title and his total number of world titles moved to 19 world titles. This broke Allen's record of 18 world titles. As of 2017, Brazile has 25 world titles, five more than Allen, who is in second place with 18 titles, and Shoulders is in third place with 16 titles.[6]

Business ventures[edit]

From his rodeo career earnings, Shoulders bought a 400-acre (1.6 km2) ranch in Oklahoma where he raised livestock.[7] He owned Tornado, a rodeo bull who threw 200 riders over 14 years. According to Frank Boggs, an Oklahoman sports writer and columnist, Shoulders bought Tornado in South Texas when he was three years old.[8] In 1967, Freckles Brown rode Tornado.[7] Shoulders actually maintained several quality bucking stock, which included the famed "weather" bulls Cyclone, Hurricane, Twister, and Tornado.[9]

On the basis of his rodeo success, Shoulders took work in advertising. His manager was Billy Martin, a former New York Yankees manager. He made advertisements for products such as Miller Lite beer, jeans (helping to design the Wrangler Jeans 13MWZ 'cowboy cut' jeans); and Justin boots.[7]


Shoulders is honored in many rodeo halls of fame. Shoulders was an early participant in the American Cowboy Culture Association, which holds the annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration each September in Lubbock, Texas.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1947, Shoulders married Sharon and they had four children. Shoulders' son, Marvin Paul Shoulders, has also competed professionally in rodeo sports. He was of English descent.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Top Rodeo Cowboy Dies". Fox News. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  2. ^ Staff, From Times; Reports, Wire (21 June 2007). "Jim Shoulders, 79; the 'Babe Ruth of rodeo' also starred in beer ads". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "PRCA World Champions (Historical)". prorodeo.com. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  4. ^ "World Champions (Historical) - Jiim Shoulders". Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Rodeo: Steer Roping Champion Guy Allen Set For Old Fort Days Rodeo". Times Record. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "Trevor Brazile clinches 13th world all-around title at National Finals Rodeo". Star-Telegram. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Frank Boggs | Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame | ZoomInfo.com". ZoomInfo. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Shoulders, Jim (b. 1928)". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  10. ^ "About". National Cowboy Symposium. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Shoulders, James Arthur". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Jim Shoulders | American rodeo cowboy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce, OR". www.molallachamber.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  14. ^ "The Bull Riding Hall of Fame Inductions 2015". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Professional Bull Riders - Jim Shoulders Award". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Western Heritage from the Texas Trail of Fame. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  18. ^ "Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame Inductees". Cheyenne Frontier Days. www.cfdrodeo.com. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  19. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame. pendletonhalloffame.com. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  20. ^ "St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame - Jim Shoulders". www.stpaulrodeo.com. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Jim Shoulders | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame". erhof.com. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Jim Shoulders - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  24. ^ "Shoulders, Jim | 1976". Oklahoma Hall of Fame. oklahomahof.com. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  26. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (21 June 2007). "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 February 2017.