Jim was born into a ranching family in 1931 in Dolen, Texas. Although there were many roads he could have taken he chose the “simple life” of rodeo.
Jim entered his first rodeo in 1948 riding bareback horses and bull and knew right away that rodeo would be an important part of his life. He joined the RCA in 1952 but was drafted that same year into the Army, putting rodeo on hold to serve his county.
In 1954 he joined the Southwestern Rodeo association again riding bareback horses and bulls. In 1956 he married barrel racer Mary Jo Norman who encouraged him in his rodeo career. She was his faithful traveling partner for years.
He was the champion bareback rider in the SRA in 1957, 1958 and 1959. He rode bulls until 1958. In 1960 he began steer wrestling and earned great success at the for a cowboy of small stature. He had a successful bareback riding career until 1966 and then hung up his chaps and spurs, but not for long as I switched gears in 1970 and began working as a pickup man.
In 1971 Haltom joined the IRA and worked as a pickup man for eight different stock contractors. He worked the Texas Prison Rodeo for 18 years, both as a judge and pickup man. Over the years he became to be respected as a fair and honest rodeo judge, making many friends at both ends of the arena.
In 1995 Haltom retired from rodeo with 47 years of experience but rodeo being in his blood he passed the torch to his daughter, Celeste and his three granddaughters who continued the family rodeo tradition in barrel racing. Jim remains active in the ranching and cattle business.