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Rodeo Cowboy Jim Shoulders Dies at 79

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Jim Shoulders, who built his name as a rodeo cowboy and achieved added fame as a beer pitchman, died Wednesday. He was 79.

Shoulders, who lived in Henryetta, had a longtime heart ailment, son Marvin Paul Shoulders said.

“He was the Babe Ruth of rodeo,” his son said. “Besides being one of the greatest rodeo cowboys, he was a great man.”

Jim Shoulders won 16 world championships, the most of any rodeo cowboy, and was a charter member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Years after riding his final bull, Shoulders starred with former Yankees manager Billy Martin in popular ads for Miller Lite.

Shoulders, who was born in Tulsa in 1928, was 14 when he entered his first rodeo and 21 when he won his first world title in 1949. He ended up with five world championships in all-around, seven in bull riding and four bareback.

Shoulders was “the best rodeo cowboy ever,” said Jim Bainbridge, a spokesman for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Shoulders was also reserve champion 10 times, including four second-place finishes in the all around.

Shoulders was riding until a few months ago.

“He did not have to suffer,” his son said. “He wasn’t the kind of person who would handle that real good.”

He is survived by his wife, Sharon Shoulders; son, Marvin Paul Shoulders, and three daughters.

Steve’s note: I know he’s not necessarily an Appaloosa guy, but Jim Shoulders is a hero to lots of us anyway.

1 Comment

  1. Sandy Jirkovsky Said,

    June 21, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

    Thanks for the information Steve. Jim Shoulders was a great cowboy and a big influence on many of us. He will always be remembered as a hero to many of us.

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