(1928-05-13)May 13, 1928
June 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 79)
Henryetta, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma
Rodeo star; Rancher
Sharon (married 1947-2007)
James A. "Jim" Shoulders (May 13, 1928 - June 20, 2007) was an American professional rodeo rider, 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). 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. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and died in Henryetta, Oklahoma. He was of English descent.
1 Rodeo career,
2 Business ventures,
4 Personal life,
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).,
Bull rider awards. (1951 and 1954 to 1959).,
Bareback rider awards. (1950 and 1956 to 1958).,
Shoulders was the first competitor to win all three events (bareback, bull riding and all-round) at the PRCA world championships.
From his rodeo career earnings, Shoulders bought a 400-acre (1.6 km) ranch in Oklahoma where he raised livestock. He produced "Tornado", a rodeo bull who threw 200 riders over 14 years. In 1967, Freckles Brown rode Tornado. 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.
Shoulders is honored in four rodeo halls of fame including Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, the Texas Trail Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. 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.
In 1947, Shoulders married Sharon and they had four children. Shoulders died in Henryetta, Oklahoma on June 20, 2007 from heart disease. Shoulders' son, Marvin Paul Shoulders, has also competed professionally in rodeo sports.