Martha Arthur Josey, born in 1938 in Marshall, Texas, is one of the most accomplished barrel racers in the world. She began her rodeo career in the mid-1950s as a barrel racer, but competed in and won many events including calf roping, goat tying, bronc riding, bull riding and cutting. In 1956, during her senior year in high school, she and horse Cebe Reed won 52 consecutive barrel races and seven horse trailers, and qualified for their first National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 1968. From 1978 – 1981, Josey and Sonny Bit O’ Both dominated the rodeo world and became the only team to ever win both the AQHA and WPRA in the same year. Josey is one of the only women in the world to qualify for the NFR for four consecutive decades.
With honors too numerous to list, some of Josey’s accomplishments include induction into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy Museum in 2011; the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1985; the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1988; the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2007; and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame & Museum in 2020. In addition, Josey was selected as Citizen of the Year by the Marshall, Texas, Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
Today, Josey continues to instruct barrel racing schools for students of all ages, teaching more than half a million students thus far. Many have gone on to be rodeo performers and world champions.
(Courtesy of National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and Rodeo Historical Society)