World Champion husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 26th 2015 with his family at his side. Jim was born in 1936 to George and Bonnie Chapralis (Charles) in Coronado, CA. He was raised in El Centro CA. At the age of 17 Jim went to work for stock contractor Andy Juaregui and worked for room and board. In 1956-57 he met Harley May, Bill Martinelli and Bob Eidson. They became traveling partners and lifelong friends competing in rodeos from New York City to the Cow Palace. Jim’s rodeo career was filled with many honors; among them qualifying eight times at the NFR in bull riding. A highlight was when he became the second man to ever ride the infamous bull Tornado in Oklahoma City. He won the 1980 Old Timer all around title in Las Vegas, NV placing in bull riding and steer wrestling and winning the bull riding average. He won the Big Four labor day run which included rodeos in Walla Walla, WA, Pendleton OR, Lewiston ID, and Ellensburg WA. In 1959 Jim set the steer wrestling record with a time of 8 seconds in Cheyenne WY and held that record for eight years.
September 17, 1963 Jim married the love of his life, Patty Gatzman. In 1965 he completed the Cal Poly Horseshoeing School. Jim was a judge at the NFR twice and PRCA rodeos throughout the country. He also served on the PRCA grievance committee for over 15 years. Jim was also actively involved with young cowboys and cowgirls teaching rodeo schools. He was a judge at the national high school rodeo finals in Tomah, WI in 1974. His love of risky sports didn’t stop with rodeo. Jim also tried skydiving and loved snowmobiling. An important part of his life was spent as an active parent in his daughters’ lives, as a softball coach and 4H leader. Jim went into real estate, worked many years at A.L. Gilbert, and later resumed his horseshoeing business.
After retiring, he enjoyed spending time at their cabin in Dardanelle, CA where he also packed hunters and the WOAH girls into the backcountry, leaving from Kennedy Meadows Resort.
Jim was an avid golfer and was a member of the bandits at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club. Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patty, daughter, Laura Charles, and granddaughter, Kelsi Brandt, his brother, John Cook, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his loving daughter Jamie Lynn Charles, his parents and brother Mike Cook.
A Celebration of life was held on Thursday, July 30 at his office (better known as the H-B). In remembrance, donations can be made to the Oakdale Cowboy Museum or Community Hospice.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Aug. 5, 201