Jim was born June 1,1937, in Sacramento, California, to parents Henry and Edna Paul. As a young boy, he rode with Hall of Fame member Barbara Worth Oakford, going down to her stables and riding anything that she would let him climb on.
When Jim was 22, he began training for the public in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the mid 1960s, he served as President of the newly formed Arizona Reined Cow Horse Association. He was also very instrumental in starting the first Arizona Snaffle Bit Futurity in the 1970s. Jim, along with John Hoyt, managed and hauled their own cattle to different shows, so that they could have cow horse classes.
Jim was also present at the decision to form the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1968. He served as an NRCHA Board Member from 1968 to 1971.
Along with Bobby Ingersoll, Smoky Pritchett, Skip Brown, and Dema Clark-Paul, he served on the committee for the introduction of the first NRCHA Case Book. Jim served as the first judge’s monitor at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1983, and was actively involved with the judge’s committee at the first judge’s seminar in Gridley, California.
Jim has judged some of the most prestigious NRCHA and stock horse events. He was a Snaffle Bit Futurity judge 4 times, judged the World’s Greatest Horseman 3 times, and the Magnificent 7 twice. He has also judged the NRCHA Derby, the Hawaii Snaffle Bit Futurity, the High Desert Snaffle Bit Futurty, the Wyoming Snaffle Bit Futurity, the Idaho Snaffle Bit Futurty, and the first All Around Stock Horse Contest in Long Beach, California.
Jim Paul was not only a horse trainer – his sharp eye and ability to teach helped many riders emerge from the show ring victorious. Some of the successful trainers who apprenticed under Jim include Al Dunning, Cal Cooper, Debbie Phelan Cooper, Jimmie Paul, and Randy Paul.
Perhaps though, the rider who benefited the most from Jim’s excellent teaching was his wife, Dema Paul. In fact, Dema had never made the Open Finals at the NRCHA Futurity until Jim helped train some nice horses with her in the 1980s. Dema attributes all of her success since then to Jim.
Some of the successful horses Jim trained for Dema include Missy Tucker, Tuckers Bayou, Cant Find My Sock, Missn No Chex, Shiners Dulena, Maggie Hickory, Masters Nu Fox, and Primos Bob Acre.
His horses were also shown successfully by Bobby Ingersoll, Jane Tatum, Brenda Brown, Jimmie Paul, Sherri Gilkerson, and Randy Paul, to mention a few.
Jim Paul Sr. is quick to credit the many people he learned from, including Barbara Worth, Don Dodge, Harold Farren, Frank Rue, Jimmy Williams, Tony Amaral, and Ray Hackworth.
Not only are Jim Paul Sr.’s students and horses well known in the show circuit, his handy work can also be seen in the hardware adorning many different champions. Jim possesses a great talent for handcrafted iron work, and his impeccable bits and spurs are used by many top trainers.
About his nomination and acceptance to the NRCHA Hall of Fame, Jim said, “I would like to thank the committee and the directors for considering my nomination, and for accepting me into the Hall Of Fame. I am very honored that they chose me.”