Jim RodgersArizona and Western history are synonymous since Arizona was basically the last frontier. The state’s history is rich in Western lore—rich mineral deposits, boomtowns, famous gunfights, ranching, cowboys and the final years of the Indian Wars.

I grew up in Arizona dreaming of being a cowboy. I started riding when I was knee high to a short grasshopper.

During my school years, I worked as a cowboy on various Arizona ranches during spring and fall works. In the summer, I hired out to ranches to ride rope and doctor cattle for screwworms and to catch wild cattle.

As a native I fell in love with the West at a very early age. My Great-Grandfather William Bruce, who worked for Charles Goodnight, sparked my interest in the West by telling me stories of his trail driving days on the Goodnight-Loving Trail.

In the 1960s, I won both the NHRA National and AHRA World Championship Drag Races. I left the cowboy lifestyle for several years to work as a general manager of Bee Line Dragway near Mesa, Arizona, and Kansas City International Raceway in Kansas City, Missouri.

My daddy always told me to follow through and always do what you say that you are going to do.

History has taught me good insight in what to expect from people and situations.

I learned everything I know about horses from personal experience, and I have never been afraid to ask questions of those who were more knowledgeable than me.

The best movie Western is 1970’s Monte Walsh.

I wish that I had a dollar for every time I thought I knew something, but didn’t.

My favorite place in the West is Central Arizona and the Gila River Watershed.

Horses and guns are important to American history because without either one of them, we would not have this great nation.

My only regret is that I didn’t become smarter sooner.

Young people in the Western lifestyle today should be proud of their heritage and remember hard work and integrity pays good dividends.

Show me the open highway, and I will digest the wonderful beauty of our great nation.

The best part of being on the road is it has given me the opportunity to see this great country up close. I’ve been in all 50 states, most Canadian provinces and Mexico. The American West is the crown jewel of the United States.

The survival of our Western tradition relies upon our ability to create an interest in our Western culture and the values that we hold. The appreciation of our Western heritage must be taught. Integrity and honesty is the true “Cowboy Way.”



After helping to form Wah-Maker Clothing Company in 1988, Jim Rodgers became interested in cowboy action shooting and cofounded the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). He originated Winter Range in 1992 and became a cofounder of Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association (CMSA) two years later. He has won 16 overall CMSA and SASS World and National Mounted Shooting titles and is chairman of the board of CMSA. He and his wife, Lily, own a ranch in New Mexico and live in Arizona.

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