Jim Shoulders, Winner of 16 Pro Rodeo Championships, Dies at 79
By Vince Golle
Bloomberg News Service
Jim Shoulders, winner of a record 16 world championships in professional rodeo from 1949 to 1959, died yesterday of complications from heart disease. He was 79.
Shoulders was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979 after a rodeo career that included seven titles in bull riding, four in bareback, and five all-around championships.
He died at his home in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
Shoulders was the only cowboy to win the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo’s all-around, or multiple events, title four times in Wyoming, and was a seven-time winner at the Calgary Stampede.
“Jim Shoulders was to the rodeo, western-industry world what Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio were to baseball,” Don Gay, who won a record eighth bull-riding championship in 1984, said in an interview from Dallas. “He did what no ordinary human being can do.”
Shoulders was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Edmond, Oklahoma, and is the only rodeo cowboy honored in the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame in New York, according to the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association. The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inducted Shoulders in 1975 and he was selected as a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.