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Matthew Jonas
Bareback rider Tim Shirley of Conifer hangs on during the Evergreen Rodeo on June 18, 2011, at the El Pinal Rodeo Grounds. Since retiring from rodeo in 2012 after a series of injuries, Shirley has found a way to stay connected through both family and coaching.
After stroke, Shirley can’t leave rodeo behind

Not long ago, local cowboy and rodeo star Tim Shirley was on top of the world.

A pro-rodeo athlete since 2001, everything started clicking for the now 36-year-old Conifer resident in the bareback competition. He kept winning around 2007, after he joined National Finals Rodeo and before retiring in 2012.

Then a near-tragedy struck in 2014, just days before Christmas. Following a competition out of town, Shirley returned home and went to bed. He didn’t wake up the next morning.