Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

SHOULDERS, JIM (b. 1928)

Jim Shoudlers rides an unknown bareback bronc at the Capitol Hill Night Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1950.

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Perhaps the finest rough stock contestant ever to compete in professional rodeo, Jim Shoulders was born on May 13, 1928, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Familiar with ranch stock from childhood, he entered his first rodeo competition in 1943 at Oiltown, Oklahoma, winning the evidently inspiring sum of $1,800.

Shoulders dominated rodeo throughout the 1950s, capturing an unequaled sixteen championship titles against other greats like Casey Tibbs and Harry Tompkins. His strength, coolness, and flamboyant spurring style won him five all-around champion cowboy titles (1949, 1956–59), an unprecedented seven bullriding titles (1951, 1954–59), and four bareback bronc–riding titles (1950, 1956–58). This cumulative record has been challenged but never duplicated.

A professional in business as well as sport, Jim Shoulders has done much to promote the future of rodeo. In addition to media promotion as a member of the Miller Lite All-Stars, he has worked in the rodeo production business and maintained fine contract bucking stock, including the famed "weather" bulls Cyclone, Hurricane, Twister, and Tornado, who was ridden only once in six seasons. Shoulders also opened the first rough stock training school (1961–89) for aspiring rodeo contestants at his ranch in Henryetta, Oklahoma.

Renowned in his chosen field, Jim Shoulders was among the first to be inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum's Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1955. Other honors include induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Richard C. Rattenbury National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Fredriksson, Kristine. American Rodeo: From Buffalo Bill to Big Business. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985.

Porter, Willard H. Who's Who in Rodeo. Oklahoma City: Powder River Book Company, 1982.

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