Hunt Known For Riding Bulls In Chair
Attached To Bull's Back
7/24/2013 by BY MIMI BROWN
When we go into Brookshire Bros., Pharmacy Plus, the Post Office or anywhere in Teague we see older folks making their rounds, doing their errands. Maybe we don?t think about the fascinating lives they lived before retiring. What a wealth of knowledge and information they hold? as well as some really great stories.
Jim Hunt is one of the retirees in Teague who has lived a very exciting life. Jim was a rodeo clown who became well known for riding bulls in a chair attached to their back. He called it his ?Rock?in Chair? because of the rocking motion of the bull.
Jim was born in Teague on February 26, 1943. ?I was born on 11th Avenue at the Davidson Hospital and Dr. Gage delivered me,? said Jim. His parents, also Teague natives, are the late Jim Ed Hunt and Evelyn Hartley Hunt. Jim worked for Jay Bodine sweeping loose grain out of boxcars while attending Teague High School. He graduated with the class of 1961.
Like many rodeo clowns, Jim is also a bull rider. Jim said, ?I rode my first big bull to the buzzer at Teague in July of ?57. He told about rodeoing with Billy Wills and Glendon Carroll. Jim said, ?One time when I went with Glendon I came off a bull and was knocked out. Glendon got to me and pulled me out of the arena. I might not have made it if he haden?t.?
On March 15, 1964 Jim married Juquita Havens and they had three children; Buddy, John and Michelle. Buddy has since passed away. When the rodeo money got scarce Jim took whatever job he could find to take care of his family including herding cattle, drove a dump truck and even sold life and health insurance.
At a rodeo in Paris, Texas, 1962, Jim strapped a wooden rocking chair onto the back of an angry, mean, snorting bull. He climbed into the seat and hung on. No one had ever seen anything like it. ?I had never seen anything like it either,? said Jim. ?The next time I turned the chair backwards.? Many times the rodeo announcers built up the suspense by urging spectators to pass the hat and collect money to buy flowers for the funeral.
Billy Wills and Kajun Kidd were with Jim when he rode his last bull in his chair at a benefit rodeo in Coolidge in 1996. Jim was thrown forward and snapped backward and slammed against the back of the chair. Both straps broke and Jim went flying! He heard a cracking sound when he hit and hoped it wasn?t his neck. Fortunately nothing was broken. Jim will probably only tell about the times he bucked off but there were a lot more times that he rode all the way.
Jim?s son John worked as a rodeo clown also. He was performing in Chicago and was thrown head first into an arena wall. He was knocked out but came around shortly. He still doesn?t remember his father helping him finish the show. Jim said, ?He did it on instinct?..I did it because he is my son.?
For two years Jim wrote short stories for newspapers in Mexia, Hubbbard and Fairfield under the name Snuffy Singletree and also did a radio program at a Mexia Radio Station called, ?Jim Hunt?s Trails Across Texas.?
He has lived an amazing life, full of ?ups and downs? and broken bones. However Li?l Jim Hunt, Burlesque Clown and Bull Fighter, still lives on in his smile and colorful stories of 40 years in rodeo.