James A. “Jim” Apodaca: 1930-2012
Long time Casper, WY, resident James A. “Jim” Apodaca, 82, died Nov. 6, 2012, at Wyoming Medical Center.
Jim was born to Arthur and Estell (Blair) Apodaca on March 25, 1930 at Garfield, NM. He was the second of eight children including brothers, Ernest, Wash, Joe, and Jerry and sisters Ann Mary, Margaret and Martha. Jim’s father farmed near Garfield and at the age of five Jim decided he wanted to be a cowboy (not a farmer) and he moved in with his Grandfather and uncle who were ranchers.
Jim graduated from Hatch Union High School, Hatch, NM, with a football scholarship to Colorado State where he got hooked on riding bulls and broncs and was soon competing professionally on the rodeo circuit. He met his wife to be, Dorothy Moon, when they both worked at Beutler Brothers Rodeo Co. in Elk City, OK. Jim competed in everything but calf roping and Dorothy served as rodeo secretary and score keeper. They married in 1958 and travelled together throughout the US, while also working various stock contractors and race tracks in Phoenix, AZ, and Omaha, NE. One of their more memorable ventures was being part of the Wild West Show for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels.
Jim was Ranch Manager and Circuit pickup man for the Harry Knight Rodeo Company of Fowler, CO, from 1959-1969. He retired from professional rodeo in 1970 at the age of 40, and went on to manage the TTT Ranch near Kaycee, WY, and was manager of the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo for several years. Before retiring a second time, Jim had a contracting business in Casper. Jim was always a hard worker and a handy man to have around. He could do anything and he measured a man’s worth by how well they were able to keep up with him. He took pride in a job well done and he gave it his all right to the end.
He married Patricia Fleege in 2000. Prior to failing health, Jim loved to hunt, fish, play cards and work in his yard. He remained especially close to his older sister, Ann Mary and her husband Bob Potter of Mission Viejo, CA. Throughout the years he mentored many young men and women in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and the sport of rodeo. Always willing to lend a helping hand, he will be missed.
Jim is survived by his wife, Pat; step-son, William Fleege and granddaughter, Jessica Fleege; his seven siblings, their spouses and children; nephew, Paul Swedhin and family of Denver, CO; as well as long time side kicks, Burton and Glenda Wright of Boone, CO, Doyle and Jajuna Cobbler of Madisonville, TX; and his young friend, Quinn Kurkra of Kenai, AK; and his dog and companion “Shooter”.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, and first wife, Dororthy, who died in 1992.
At his request, no services are planned and cremation has taken place. Interment will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to the 12-24 Club or one of the Casper food banks, or to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs.
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