OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jim Shoulders, who built his name as a champion rodeo cowboy and achieved added fame as a beer pitchman, died yesterday. He was 79.
Mr. Shoulders, who lived in Henryetta, Okla. , 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."
Mr. 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, Mr. Shoulders starred with former Yankees manager Billy Martin in popular ads for Miller Lite.
Mr. 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.
Mr. Shoulders was "the best rodeo cowboy ever," said Jim Bainbridge, a spokesman for the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs .
"He had no pain level," rodeo announcer and longtime friend Clem McSpadden said. "He was impervious to pain."
Mr. Shoulders was riding until a few months ago.