Jimmy Rollins, a Tarkington cattle rancher, is the newest recipient of the Trinity Valley Exposition’s Western Heritage Award. The award was announced on April 9 at the TVE Spring Event.
The oldest of four siblings, Rollins was born in Cleveland, Texas, in 1950 and was reared in Plum Grove, Texas. He is a 1968 graduate of Cleveland High School. As a junior in high school, Rollins already knew his future was in agriculture when he bought his first set of cattle. Within just a few years, he had cattle grazing in five different counties.
After graduation, Jimmy continued his role of responsibility, even buying two of his younger sisters their first vehicles.
Rollins raised four children – two sons and two daughters. As soon as he decided they were old enough to drive, which may or may not have been legal driving age, they had vehicles rigged out to fix fences and feed cattle. He believed in teaching them to work hard and think ahead. They soon learned, as did his friends, that when he said, “Hey, come go with me and check on some cattle,” that is really the code word for “Hey, come go with me because I need someone to open gates!”
Rollins has a habit of being absorbed in whatever he is doing and giving it his full attention. When his seven grandchildren were young, they learned the best way to get his attention away from work or watching an old western was to say, “Papa, you have cows out!” It works every time.
Rollins is a proud supporter of youth in agriculture. He attends local fairs and gets the list of kids that made the sales, with his main goal of finding kids who may not have a buyer. Those are the kids he wants to help. He has always participated and been proud to be involved with the TVE partnership. He truly loves supporting the local youth and sharing his love of agriculture with others.
His dedication to the cattle and agriculture industry is not just confined to his home area. One summer Jimmy, his wife, Susan, and a dozen other people went on a vacation to Costa Rica. While there, he asked their driver, “Do they have a cattle auction here?” He then asked several people in the group to go with him to this foreign cattle auction but couldn’t find anyone willing to attend. They explained the language barrier and how hard it would be to bring anything home. Although disappointed, Rollins didn’t bring home any Costa Rican cattle from that trip.
Rollins’ search for cattle literally knows no boundaries. He just simply loves bovines, the entire cattle market and looks for any way he can to support those who are as equally as passionate about it.
In addition to his full-time cattle operation, Rollins ran a business for 32 years. Although he has finally retired, he spends his time going to auctions and checking on the cattle he partners on with his son. He still looks for ways to support the youth of his community and regularly uses his place and arena to promote community events for worthy causes. Every year, his ranch is the site of a crawfish boil fundraiser to support Tarkington ISD Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to all high school graduates.
Like the old western movies he loves, Rollins is a true western “original.”
“He is a man’s man. He is tough, hardworking and generous,” according to the statement from TVE. “He is good to the people he loves and tries to help people who are working to help themselves.”