Jim Dougherty began competing in youth rodeos in 1953 at age 14 and won the national calf roping title in 1956. He was on the rodeo teams at Sul Ross and Texas A&I universities. After college, Jim was a winning calf roper and team roper in many RCA rodeos. In the 1970s, Jim and his son competed successfully on the South Texas team roping rodeo circuit. In the 1980s, Jim competed in steer roping. He served as president of the Texas Youth Rodeo Association and president of the George West Roping Club, ensuring it became PRCA-sanctioned. Jim’s rodeo career ended November 4, 1984, when he sustained a head injury while competing in the steer roping short round at the San Angelo Roping Fiesta.