James “Jim” William Fain, 80, of Logan, UT, passed away on May 10, 2023, with his wife of nearly 59 years and other family by his side.
James was born on Aug. 8, 1942, to James and Viola Fain in Corydon, IA. He and his family lived in Allerton, IA, and moved to Phoenix, AZ, when Jim was five. After graduating from Carl Hayden High School in 1960, Jim hit the rodeo trail and ponied horses on the race track before taking a job at the South Rim Grand Canyon in the summer of 1961. He transferred to the North Rim, and it was there that he met the love of his life, Karen Johnson. She talked him into going to college and after a year at Arizona State University, he transferred to Utah State University to be closer to Karen.
Jim and Karen were married in Fountain Green, UT, on June 12, 1964. That summer they went back to the Grand Canyon to work. They were sealed in the Manti, UT, LDS temple in 1965. Jim completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1967 from USU, and his Master of Fine Arts in 1969, with a master thesis in landscape photography of the North Rim.
Jim and Karen were blessed with four beautiful children, Tyler J, James, Kayleen, and Karina Fain. They were blessed with grandsons Brian and Dylan (Kayleen) and Gavin and Corbin (Karina).
Shortly after arriving in Utah, this Arizona boy learned to love the cold. He was a skilled skier, and would count down the days from the last ski day of the season to opening day of the next season. Jim was a certified ski instructor and taught skiing lessons for 20 years at Beaver Mountain. He enjoyed skiing with his family, including his grandkids.
Jim started out as a rodeo cowboy, competing in the bareback riding, bull riding, and steer wrestling. His first artistic love was scenic photography, but his first-hand knowledge from participating in various rodeo events, gave him an eye for the best action shots. Many of his photos are at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
With his eternal companion by his side, James snapped photos at high school, college and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeos, creating lasting memories for multiple generations of cowboys and cowgirls for over 60 years. His travels took him as far east as Washington DC, where he photographed the Ronald Reagan Command Performance Rodeo in 1983, and all over the western United States. He is a 60-year member of the PRCA and also a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Artist Association.
For many years Jim was the Official Photographer for the National Finals Rodeo, Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, National High School Finals Rodeo, Indian National Finals Rodeo, and College National Finals Rodeo. He and his wife, Karen, were a mainstay of the Cache County Fair Rodeo for over 40 years. His longest run began in 1966 and spanned 54 consecutive years at the Evanston Cowboy Days Rodeo.
The quality of his work garnered the PRCA Photographer of the Year in 2006, and PRCA Photo of the Year in both 1979 and 2006; the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Artist Association Penny Onstott Award for Excellence in 1993; the National High School Rodeo Association Man of the Year in 1998; and presentation of the 75th Anniversary Buckle by Preston Night Rodeo, National Day of the American Cowboy for Cache County 2012, to mention a few of his awards.
Jim was inducted into the Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in 2014. He and his wife, Karen, were inducted into the Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2018.
Jim's photographs have appeared on album covers, in motion pictures, such as “8 Seconds” and "Born to Ride - Cody Wright and the Quest for a World Title," and in his own books on rodeo such as "Rodeo, A Decade of Action," 1976, and "A New True Book of Rodeo," 1983. His images have been used as cover photographs and appear within books such as: “Reba: My Story,” “The Life of Reba McEntire,” “Gold Buckle Dreams,” as well as in numerous other books, magazines and newspapers throughout the United States and Europe, including the Pro Rodeo Sports News Magazine.
James photographed his last rodeo as a PRCA photographer in Logan in August 2022, where he was honored by both the rodeo committee and the PRCA.
With all his professional accolades, his greatest contribution was his family. James loved traveling across the west with Karen by his side. He loved visiting with his family and hearing about their latest adventures.
James was preceded in death by his still-born son, Tyler J.; his father and mother, James and Viola Fain; his step mother, Margaret “Midge” Fain; and his brother, Randy Fain. He is survived by his eternal companion, Karen of Logan, UT; son James (Victoria) of TX; daughter, Kayleen, and grandsons, Brian Lofthouse and Dylan Barr of CO; and daughter, Karina (Dustin), and grandsons, Gavin and Corbin Ellis of UT; and his brother, Michael (Carol) Fain of OK.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 at Allen-Hall Mortuary, from 6-8 pm.
34 East Center Street, Logan Utah. Private graveside services (interment) Thursday, May 18, 2023 at the Fountain Green Utah Cemetery.
Please share your favorite memory of Jim for the family by visiting the obituary at
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his honor to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, the Cache Community Food Pantry, or your favorite charity.