Jim was born May 6, 1935 in Beach, ND, to Edward and Bertha (Reed) Cook. He spent most of his childhood north of Sentinel Butte, near the community of Westerheim, living and helping on his grandparents, Ted and Julia Cook’s, ranch.
He graduated from Sentinel Butte High School in 1953, and attended Dickinson State College on an athletic scholarship.
Jim started riding steers in the local rodeos at age nine, moving on to broncs and bulls in high school and college. He won the bull riding average in 1956 at the Wolf Point Stampede in Montana.
After attending Reppert School of Auctioneering in Decatur, Indiana, in 1958, he moved his family to Winchester, Virginia, to manage a livestock auction market. He started announcing weekly rodeos for Howard Harris and Jim Shoulders. This gave Jim Cook the opportunity to talk about North Dakota’s western heritage and to brag about the Tescher brothers, Alvin Nelson, Duane Howard, Dean Armstrong, and many other great ND cowboys.
Jim moved back to Glendive, Montana, in 1965 to ranch with his brother Jerry. Marvin Brookman asked Jim to announce the Culbertson, Montana, rodeo in 1967. That was the start of a 30 year rodeo announcing career, which included announcing RCA rodeos for Brookman, Bob Aber, Bob Barens, Jim Sutton, Erv Korkow, and Max Burch in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Jim announced the 4th of July Roughrider Rodeo in Dickinson for 18 years, the North Dakota Winter Show Rodeo in Valley City for 20 years, and the Williston Fair Rodeo for 12 years. He announced rodeos at Glasgow, Sidney, Glendive, Baker, and Forsyth, Montana, for 20 years. One of the biggest highlights was when he started announcing the Home On The Range Match of Champions. He held this distinction for 20 years. Jim also became a PRCA Gold Card member in 1986.
Jim would also announce and promote many Little Britches, 4-H, high school, college, amateur, and ranch rodeos, along with community fundraisers for rural fire departments, school activities, benefits for medical causes, and other charitable events.
Jim’s biggest contributions to rodeo, rodeo culture and way of life was his ability to connect and converse with everyone he met. He always used the opportunity to explain, promote, and exemplify rodeo and the western way of life.