Cowboy Jim on his last day of collecting cans and bottles on Nelson’s streets. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Cowboy Jim on his last day of collecting cans and bottles on Nelson’s streets. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Container collector Cowboy Jim calls it a day

James Hamilton has been a fixture on Nelson’s streets for 14 years

James Hamilton, an 82-year-old former rodeo rider otherwise known as Cowboy Jim, has been picking up bottles and cans in Nelson in his custom-made cart, three to four hours per day, for 14 years.

Now he’s had enough.

“It’s because of my hip — it bothers me,” he says. “But I’ve got lots to do at home.”

He said the oncoming bad weather makes it a good time to quit because “it gets tough to get in and out of the back alleys.”

His friend Dale Morris speaks proudly of the cart he and others made for Hamilton.

Morris says the cart was made so that he “would be able to go down the street without falling and he could use the brakes to use it like a walker, as well as carrying lots of bottles without getting tippy.”

Cowboy Jim doesn’t seem sad or nostalgic about retiring.

“It’s done,” he says, with a smile.

Related: Cowboy Jim’s long ride