Longtime stock contractor Jim Sutton Jr. gets HOF call
This well-deserved honor was a long time in the making for Jim Sutton Jr.
Sutton Jr. is the patriarch of Sutton Rodeo, and he and his wife, Julie, have a six-generation family operation still running strong. Sutton Rodeo is based in Onida, S.D.
Jim is now in the prestigious ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know how it could be any better,” said Sutton, 86. “This is a pretty big deal when you get in with people like Casey Tibbs. I really never thought about being in the (ProRodeo) Hall of Fame. I tried to rodeo as good as I could and figured I wasn’t going to get in the Hall of Fame that direction. I think our rodeo company and the people in it who are mostly family have all done well with their part, and you add it all up and it turns out pretty good.”
Jim and Julie were the recipients of the 2017 PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement Award. Julie, 85, was unable to attend the ceremony because she’s battling cancer.
“She desperately wanted to get through this weekend,” said Kim Sutton, Jim and Julie’s daughter. “She was so close. She’s weak. We were pretty sad, and Jim didn’t want to come, and she told him, ‘You are going. This is the honor of a lifetime.’
“We are having a hard time. It has been a pretty emotional weekend for us.”
Sutton Rodeo has won three PRCA Horse of the Year awards: saddle bronc horse Deep Water in 1979, bareback horse Big Bud in 1985 and saddle bronc horse Chuckulator in 2012. Chuckulator also was the top saddle bronc horse of the 2012 NFR. Sutton Rodeo stock has been selected to perform at every NFR but one since the NFR’s inception in 1959.
Jim and Julie took the company to the next level with a focus on production and innovation. Jim began the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo in 1978, a rodeo nominated 15 times for PRCA Indoor Rodeo of the Year, winning the award in 2002-03.
The roots of the Suttons in the rodeo business can be traced to 1926 when the Edwin Sutton family – Jim’s grandfather – began producing rodeos on their home ranch in Sully County, S.D.
James H. Sutton Sr. took Sutton Rodeo to the next stage in the 1950s when he entered a partnership with Erv Korkow. As one of the first members of the Rodeo Cowboys Association, Sutton/Korkow stock performed at the first National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959.
James was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1968, James (Jim) Sutton Jr. became a partner with his dad, forming Sutton Rodeo Company.
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