PRCA Photographer, Jim Svoboda, Jr., passes away

by Courtesy

James (Jim) Floyd Svoboda, Jr. was born November 8th, 1934 at Ord Nebraska, and passed February 19th, 2023 at the age of 88. The cause of death was inoperable stomach complications/perforation which were exacerbated by a longstanding unrecognized rodeo injury. He passed comfortably at peace with his wife and family at his side thanks to the excellent care he received at Grand Island Nebraska Regional Hospital.

Jim graduated in 1956 from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and worked 33 years for the USDA as County Executive Officer for the Agriculture Stabilization Conservation Service serving Garfield, Loup, and Wheeler Counties until he retired in 1989. He also owned a ranch with his wife and family north of Burwell prior to his retirement, where they owned a registered Hereford operation.

Jim spent nearly 20 years as a successful four event all-around rodeo competitor, with his best streak of riding 54 barebacks in a row. He filled his PRCA permit in 1958 and received his PRCA Gold card in 1984. A severely broken leg forced him to become a full-time rodeo photographer.

With over 3 million photos shot and worn out nearly 40 cameras, Jim was a true legend in the rodeo photography industry. He won numerous awards and buckles during his rodeo career including four coveted PRCA award buckles: “Sports News Best Action Photo”, “Best Action Rodeo Photo”, “PRCA Best in Photo Journalism “and “Las Vegas National Finals Rodeo Official Photographer”, a feat no other photographer has ever accomplished.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn of 64 years, three children, Tana Brinkman (Jim), Jason Von Svoboda (Angela), JonBen Svoboda (AnneMarie), 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, 2 brothers and 4 sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents James, Sr. and Margaret (Walkowiak) Svoboda, 1 brother and 3 sisters.

At Jim’s request, he wanted a private graveside service and in lieu of flowers send remembrance memorials to the family which will be collectively donated in his honor to the Nebraska’s Big Rodeo

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