In 1966, Martha and R.E. Josey were newlyweds with a passion for good horses, championship rodeo and winning. But it wasn’t enough to be a winner. The Joseys were already winners—R.E. was an American Quarter Horse Association world champion calf roper, and his raven-haired bride, a petite powerhouse from Marshall, Texas, was a Texas barrel racing phenomenon right out of the chute.
“From Day One, R.E. and I have shared the same dream – to have one of the best rodeo schools and clinics in the world,” Martha said.
The winning ways of Martha and R.E. Josey drew notice.
“R.E. was winning the ropings and I winning the barrel races,” Martha recalled.
In addition to winning just about every rodeo and horse show she entered, Martha won an incredible 52 barrel races in a row and seven horse trailers on her great horse, Cebe Reed.
“People wanted to know what we did to win, so in 1967 we had our first school,” R.E. said.
Returning to native East Texas, Martha and R.E. Josey held their first school at Josey Ranch in Marshall. The Joseys shared their expertise with 33 students for two weeks, bedding down the students in the lofts of two converted barns.
“It wasn’t too fancy, but everyone loved it,” Martha said with a laugh.
Demand grew quickly, and before long, the Joseys were spending their entire summers teaching. Two and a half and three-day clinics were added. The Joseys began one of the first barrel racing clinics ever. The very first for the Joseys was in the Northeast in Connecticut in 1966. Many who attended that clinic went on to become National Finals competitors.
Today, Team Josey — Gary Arthur and Lisa and Ty Mitchell — share the Joseys’ expertise and winning ways in clinics nearly year-round, coast to coast. Team Josey and a team of instructors, including R.E. and Martha Josey, teach clinics at the 200-acre Josey Ranch in Marshall.
Every May, the annual Josey Reunion for former Josey students and the Josey Jr. World for age 20 and under, are expected to draw hundreds of competitors offering thousands of dollars in prizes, money and scholarships.
In the past 45 years, more than 150,000 students have shared the Joseys’ dream, and many students have fulfilled their dreams.
“I like to win in anything I do. I have always loved to win, and I always teach to win,” said Martha, now a ProRodeo Hall of Fame cowgirl.
And the key to winning, Martha says, is determination, discipline and desire to be the best you can be.
Instilling those qualities not only makes a winner in the rodeo arena, she said, but in every walk of life.
“Many of our students have gone on to be champions in barrel racing and calf roping,” R.E. said. “So many that it’s impossible to list. But all who have gone on are still winners in other walks of life. We have mounted many of our students on horses that have helped them reach their championships.”
R.E. and Martha Josey credit their hardworking staff and the support of sponsors — Purina, Big Tex/CM Trailers, United Vet/MVP, Circle Y of Yoakum, Josey Pro Kold, LifeWave, Priefert Ranch Equipment, Supreme Western and the Made-Rite Company to the success of their clinics and events.
For more information on upcoming Josey Clinics and Events, visit barrelracers.com or call 903-935-5358.
*Updated February 24, 2022 — Since the original publication of this article in 2012, R.E. Josey has sadly passed away just after midnight Feb. 24, 2022. Our hearts and prayers go out to Martha and everyone who loved R.E.