All-Around Champion Cowboy, 1949, 1956-1959
Champion Bareback-Bronc Rider
Champion Bull Rider
Probably the finest rough-stock contestant ever to compete in the sport of rodeo, Jim Shoulders was born in 1928 at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Familiar with horses and cattle from his childhood, he entered his first competition in 1943 and won $18. Within 20 years, he would have no peer in rodeo sport, having won more championship titles than any other professional cowboy athlete. Jim Shoulders dominated rodeo throughout the 1950s, capturing an unequaled sixteen World Championship titles: five of which were All-Arounds. His strength, coolness and flamboyant spurring ability brought him an unprecedented seven Bull-Riding titles and also four Bareback. Riding titles. The cumulative record set by Jim has been challenged for more than 40 years.
His record brought induction into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1955. In 1996, Shoulders won the Culture of the American Cowboy Award and was inducted in the Professional Bull Riders’ Ring of Honor. A professional in business as well as sport, Shoulders has done much to promote the future of rodeo. His media promotion, product endorsement and spokesmanship for rodeo sponsors like Justin, Wrangler, Miller, Ford, and Dodge have made him a national and international figure in rodeo lore. In addition, he maintained fine contract bucking stock, started the first rodeo training school for aspiring contestants, and invented the mechanical bucking machine. For his many contributions to rodeo sport and promotion, and to the youth of America, Jim Shoulders was selected as the recipient of the Ben Johnson Memorial Award in 2004.