Jim Shoulders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jim Shoulders
Born(1928-05-13)May 13, 1928
DiedJune 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 79)
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 2019, Brazile has 25 world titles, seven more than Allen, who is in second place with 18 titles, and Shoulders is in third place with 16 titles. Brazile won his 25th title in 2019.[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 several bucking "weather" bulls, the most famous of which was 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][9] In 1967, Freckles Brown rode Tornado.[7]

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. He 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. June 20, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  2. ^ Staff, From Times; Reports, Wire (June 21, 2007). "Jim Shoulders, 79; the 'Babe Ruth of rodeo' also starred in beer ads". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "PRCA World Champions (Historical)". prorodeo.com. Retrieved May 11, 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. ^ "Now semiretired, Trevor Brazile, 43, finds time to clinch 25th pro rodeo world title". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. June 21, 2007. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "ProRodeo Hall of Fame Bull Remembered". Bucking Stock Talk Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Shoulders, Jim (b. 1928)". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  10. ^ "About". National Cowboy Symposium. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Shoulders, James Arthur". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  12. ^ "Jim Shoulders | American rodeo cowboy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce, OR". www.molallachamber.com. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  14. ^ "The Bull Riding Hall of Fame Inductions 2015". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  15. ^ "Professional Bull Riders - Jim Shoulders Award". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  16. ^ "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  17. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Western Heritage from the Texas Trail of Fame. June 6, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  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 January 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame - Jim Shoulders". www.stpaulrodeo.com. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  21. ^ "Jim Shoulders | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame". erhof.com. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  22. ^ "Jim Shoulders - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  23. ^ "Class of 1989". Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. March 24, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  24. ^ "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (June 21, 2007). "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2017.