Johnny was born in Beaumont on May, 1030. Ackel was a steerr wrestler and bull rider. He won the 1952 NIRA College Nationals Finals in the bull riding event. He spent two years in the U.S. Army, then graduated with a teaching degree in vocational agriculture from Sam Houston College in Huntsville.
When he began teaching, he was able to rodeo on weekends and summer breaks. He was a champion competitor in both steer wrestling and bull riding nationwide. He started producing rodeos with his own Flying J bucking stock in 1967 and is still actively producing championship productions.