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Martha Josey Inducted into Prestigious ProRodeo Hall of Fame

Article provided courtesy the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Photo courtesy Martha Josey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Renowned bareback horse Grated Coconut of Calgary Stampede headlines an award-winning, eight-member class of inductees that will be enshrined in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs on August 1.

Grated Coconut, who won a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-record six Bareback Horse of the Year awards, is joined by six-time world champion Cody Ohl (tie-down roping, 1997-98, 2001, 2003, 2006 and all-around, 2001); world champion bull rider Butch Kirby (1978); stock contractor Jim Sutton Jr.; contract personnel Suni Deb Backstrom; notable Randy Witte; rodeo Ellensburg Rodeo and world champion barrel racer Martha Josey (1980).

NBHA Featured Inductee: 


Through her love of the sport of rodeo, Martha Josey not only became the 1980 World Champion Barrel Racer but got the opportunity to compete in rodeo at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, that pitted the United States against Canada. Josey won an individual bronze medal and helped Team USA capture the team title.

Josey, who currently resides in Karnack, Texas, qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 11 times on four different horses across a span of four decades. She won her 1980 world title on Sonny Bit O’Both, the same year the duo also won the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship, a feat that hasn’t been matched to date.

“I am so excited and just don’t know what to say. I am in shock,” the 82-year-old Josey said. “I have received some great honors in the past, but this is among the very highest. It is a true honor to be included in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in the WPRA category alongside so many great athletes and personnel. I thought four years ago when the WPRA inducted their first class it was just magnificent, and to get the call today is just wonderful. I am so honored.”

Not only did she make a name for herself in the arena, Josey also has given back to the sport through her countless clinics. She and husband R.E. Josey started conducting barrel racing clinics in 1967 at their Texas ranch. Several of today’s world champions credit Martha Josey with helping them achieve their goals. Her clinics have grown through the years to average more than 1,500 students annually, with students as young as five and some into their 80s. Normally every May on Mother’s Day weekend, the couple hosts the Martha Josey Junior World Championship event at their ranch, which is now WPRA sanctioned, as well as the Josey Reunion Barrel Race.

In addition, the Joseys have been involved in creating innovative barrel racing saddles, pads, protective boots, knot reins and combination bits. They believe the result has been increased safety and barrel racing skills for many barrel racers across the United States.

Josey was also the queen of sequins, having some of the most sparkling tops in nearly every color in the arena. She would replace the buttons with zippers to make them easier to put on.

She can now add the ProRodeo Hall of Fame to her illustrious list of Halls of Fame in which she is inducted, including the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Ark-La-Tex Hall of Fame. In addition, she was selected Citizen of the Year by the Marshall Chamber of Commerce in 2016 for her contributions to the community.