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Debating with your friends who’s the best Rodeo coach?

Ty Murray, Larry Mahan or Jim Shoulders?

Here is our list of the best Rodeo coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Rodeo Coaches:

  1. Ty Murray
  2. Larry Mahan
  3. Jim Shoulders
  4. Tuff Hedeman
  5. Don Gay
  6. Charmayne James

#1 Ty Murray

  • πŸ† Achievements: 7-time PRCA World All-Around Champion
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Professional career from late 1980s to 2002; coaching and mentoring activities post-retirement
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Individual athletes in various rodeo events
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Ty Murray is often referred to as the “King of the Cowboys” for his multiple championships in the world of professional rodeo. A true all-around cowboy, Murray has left a lasting legacy in the sport with seven PRCA World All-Around Champion titles.

Since his retirement as a competitor, Murray has been involved in coaching and mentoring young rodeo athletes. His insights and experience have been valuable in shaping the skills of the next generation of cowboys and cowgirls.

In addition to his coaching efforts, Murray has had a great influence on the sport through his founding of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization, which has helped elevate the profile of bull riding worldwide.

#2 Larry Mahan

  • πŸ† Achievements: 6-time PRCA World All-Around Champion
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1960s-1970s; mentoring and promotional activities post-retirement
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Individual athletes in various rodeo disciplines
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

As a legend within the rodeo, Larry Mahan is celebrated not just for his 6-time PRCA World All-Around Champion title but also for his role in bringing rodeo to broader public attention. His career spanned from the 1960s to the 1970s, during which he solidified his place as one of the sport’s greats.

Following his active career, Mahan shifted his focus to coaching and mentoring. His expertise and approach to the sport have influenced countless rodeo athletes looking to follow in his footsteps.

Moreover, Mahan’s efforts to promote the sport have included appearances, endorsements, and the development of his own line of western wear, contributing to the cultural impact of rodeo.

#3 Jim Shoulders

  • πŸ† Achievements: 16-time World Champion in bull riding and bareback riding
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1940s–1970; coaching and other contributions post-retirement
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Individual athletes and rodeo clinics
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Jim Shoulders stands as a towering figure in the history of rodeo with an incredible 16 World Champion titles in bull riding and bareback riding throughout his career spanning from the 1940s to the early 1970s.

After retiring from competitive rodeo, Shoulders continued his involvement in the sport by coaching upcoming competitors and conducting rodeo clinics. His deep understanding of rodeo has made him a revered figure among those seeking to learn from one of the best.

In addition to coaching, Shoulders’ legacy includes his role in the growth of professional rodeo and his impact as a mentor to future champions, ensuring his influence endures within the rodeo community.

#4 Tuff Hedeman

  • πŸ† Achievements: 3-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Competitive career mainly in the 1980s and 1990s; continues to be involved in the sport
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Individual bull riding athletes and event organization
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Richard “Tuff” Hedeman is recognized for his success as a bull rider, with three PRCA World Champion Bull Rider titles to his name. His competitive career shone brightly in the 1980s and 1990s, marking him as one of the sport’s notable figures.

Beyond his achievements in the arena, Hedeman has dedicated himself to coaching and supporting up-and-coming bull riders. His dedication to sharing his experience and knowledge has helped shape new talent in the sport.

Presently, Hedeman is also known for his involvement in the organization of bull riding events, further contributing to the sport’s popularity and providing a platform for new riders to showcase their skills.

#5 Don Gay

  • πŸ† Achievements: 8-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Competitive career spanned the 1970s to the 1980s; after retirement shifting focus to broadcasting and promotion
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Don Gay is distinguished in the world of rodeo as an eight-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider, a record that underscored his dominance in the sport during his peak years in the 1970s and 1980s.

After his successful career, Gay’s involvement in the rodeo did not wane. Though not traditionally a coach, his role in broadcasting and as a rodeo commentator has allowed him to provide insights and educate both new fans and aspiring athletes about the finer points of bull riding.

Gay’s charisma and depth of knowledge have made him a beloved figure in the sport, contributing to his lasting impact on the rodeo world long after his last competitive ride.

#6 Charmayne James

  • πŸ† Achievements: 11-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) World Barrel Racing Champion
  • πŸ“… Years Active: Competitive career primarily in the 1980s and 1990s; coaching and clinics in later years
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Barrel racing students and elite competitors through clinics and private coaching
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Charmayne James has achieved legendary status in the world of barrel racing with an impressive record of 11 WPRA World Barrel Racing Championships. Her competitive success throughout the 1980s and 1990s has left a mark on the sport that is still revered today.

James transitioned from competing to coaching, where she has used her exceptional skills and knowledge to mentor many aspiring barrel racers. Through her clinics and private coaching, she has developed a legacy of excellence in training methodology and horse care.

Charmayne’s contributions extend beyond championships, as she has been a key advocate for safety in the sport, particularly through her invention of the Charmayne James Barrel Racing Safety Helmet, which encourages riders to prioritize their well-being.


Who is the greatest rodeo coach of all time?

Shawn Davis is the greatest rodeo coach, winning 3 PRCA Coach of the Year awards and leading Montana State University’s team to multiple National Championships.

Who was the most successful rodeo coach?

Shawn Davis was the most successful rodeo coach, guiding college teams to numerous victories and significantly contributing to professional rodeo coaching and education.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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