Dubbed “King of the Cowboy Trick Ropers,” J.W. began his career in 1936 at age nine, trick riding and roping for Clyde Miller and his Rodeo and Wild West Show. He performed for seventy-five years in scores of rodeos nationwide, appeared on a Wheaties cereal box, and roped in three western movies.
J.W. has promoted Texas and rodeo internationally, including performing for the Queen of England. He has performed at the Rose Bowl and rode in the inaugural parade of President Harry Truman. He entertained troops during the Korean War and has performed in Europe, Canada, Cuba, South America and in Japan during eight overseas tours. During his overseas tours, J.W. worked with the likes of the legendary Casey Tibbs and Freckles Brown. J.W. was close friends with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and let Roy borrow his Palomino horse, Pumpkin, on one tour. J.W. performed at the 1988 Olympics Rodeo in Calgary Canada.
He is an inductee in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame, and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. J.W. still teaches roping and trick riding, and trains the Cowgirl Chicks rodeo entertainment team. He has lived in Weatherford, Texas, since 1969.