Jim Shoulders

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Jim Shoulders
Born (1928-05-13)May 13, 1928
Died June 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 79)
Residence Henryetta, Okmulgee County,
Occupation Rodeo 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 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and at the time of his death, was the most successful contestant in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).[1] Known as the 'Babe Ruth of rodeo', Shoulders was a spokesperson for a number of commercial products such as Miller Lite, Justin Boots and Wrangler Jeans.[2] He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and died in Henryetta, Oklahoma. He was of English descent.

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. His success at competitions included:

  • PRCA world championships. (Five 'World all-around rodeo champion cowboy' awards, 1949, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959).[3]
  • Bull rider awards. (1951 and 1954 to 1959).[3]
  • Bareback rider awards. (1950 and 1956 to 1958).[3]

Shoulders was the first competitor to win all three events (bareback, bull riding and all-round) at the PRCA world championships.[3]

Business ventures[edit]

From his rodeo career earnings, Shoulders bought a 400-acre (1.6 km2) ranch in Oklahoma where he raised livestock.[4] 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.[5] In 1967, Freckles Brown rode Tornado.[4] Shoulders actually maintained several quality bucking stock, which included the famed "weather" bulls Cyclone, Hurricane, Twister, and Tornado.[6]

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.[4]


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.[7]

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.


  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. ^ a b c "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Frank Boggs | Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame | ZoomInfo.com". ZoomInfo. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "SHOULDERS, JIM (b. 1928)". Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration, Inc. (Lubbock, Texas)". cowboy.org. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Shoulders, James Arthur | The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture". www.okhistory.org. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Jim Shoulders | American rodeo cowboy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Encyclopedia of the Great Plains | SHOULDERS, JIM (b. 1928)". plainshumanities.unl.edu. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Walk of Fame - Molalla Area Chamber of Commerce,OR". www.molallachamber.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "The Bull Riding Hall of Fame Inductions 2015". The Bull Riding Hall of Fame. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  13. ^ "Professional Bull Riders - Jim Shoulders Award". Professional Bull Riders. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "Legends of ProRodeo - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Western Heritage from the Texas Trail of Fame. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2017-02-03. 
  16. ^ "Cheyenne Frontier Days - Hall of Fame". www.oldwestmuseum.org. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  17. ^ "St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame - Jim Shoulders" (PDF). www.stpaulrodeo.com. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Jim Shoulders | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame". erhof.com. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Jim Shoulders". Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Jim Shoulders - Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame". Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2017-02-03. 
  21. ^ "Shoulders, Jim | 1976 - Oklahoma Hall of Fame". oklahomahof.com. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  22. ^ "Rodeo Hall of Fame Inductees - National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum". National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  23. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (21 June 2007). "Legendary Rodeo Champion Jim Shoulders, 79". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 February 2017.