By Ann Bleiker
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2020 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Monday, April 20 and will mark the 42nd annual induction. A total of eight will be inducted including one representative from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
1980 WPRA World Champion Martha Josey will represent the Association during this year’s induction class. Josey will join the following on the PRCA side – Cody Ohl, Butch Kirby, Jim Sutton, Sunni Deb Backstrom, Randy Witte, Grated Coconut and Ellensburg (WA) Rodeo.
Through her love of the sport of rodeo, Martha Josey not only became a world champion barrel racer but got the opportunity to compete in the rodeo during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, that pitted the United States versus Canada. Josey would win 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 world title in 1980 on Sonny Bit O’ Both, the same year the duo also won the AQHA 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,” said the 82-year old upon learning of her induction. “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 but 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 ranch in Texas. Many of today’s world champions credit Martha Josey with helping them achieve their goals. Her clinics have grown through the years to average over 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 Josey’s have been involved in creating new and innovative barrel racing saddles, pads, protective boots, knot reins, and combination bits. The result has been increased safety and increased barrel racing skills for barrel racers over 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 Hall of Fame’s she has been honored with induction 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.
Full information on the PRCA inductees can be found at www.prorodeo.com.
The ProRodeo Hall of Fame, which is a popular Colorado Springs attraction for rodeo fans and tourists alike, will have inducted 283 people, 31 rodeo committees and 36 animals with the class of 2020. The 2020 ProRodeo Hall of Fame Inductions are scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. MT on Aug. 1, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Editor's Note: The information enclosed in this release is courtesy of the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) for media use. However, if you reprint any of the following information verbatim in your publication, or if you read it verbatim on a radio broadcast, please mention that the information is courtesy of the WPRA.