R.E. Josey was born and raised west of Post, Texas on his family’s cotton farm. R.E. was an active, athletic child and was just barely past a toddler when his daddy gave him his first cotton rope. He took to roping like a fish takes to water and spent every spare moment roping anything he could, including the furniture and his siblings. Before he ever got his first horse, R.E. roped goats on the ground with his brothers. Then his dad built the boys a roping arena and he quickly graduated to horseback and calves.
He began competing in amateur rodeos and dominated the calf ropings everywhere he went. His professional career began at an early age when he joined the (RCA). Later, in 1965, he took the risk of leaving his steady job in the oil field to follow his passion and began to rodeo full time. It was a risk that paid off.
While pursuing his rodeo career R.E. met Martha Arthur at a barrel race in Hillsboro, TX where he admittedly was not only after Martha, but her horse Cebe Reed as well. He and Martha married in 1966 and competed on the rodeo road together. The Joseys enjoyed a kindred passion for the sport of rodeo and saw a need for a central location where they could share both their knowledge and their passion with others. With this goal in mind, the first-ever rodeo school was formed. They opened the gates to students for the first time in 1967 at the now iconic Josey Ranch in Marshall, TX.
Over the next five and half decades, R.E. became a mentor and tutor to hundreds of thousands of students through his years as a clinician. For half of that time, he was still competing and claiming World Champion Titles.
“Josey and I juggled our rodeo careers and having a rodeo school at the same time,” said World Champion Barrel Racer, Martha Josey. “I remember many long nights driving to the rodeo, getting there in time to compete, and then as soon as it was over, we had to hurry back home for the next school. It was a fast-paced life, but it was worth it! Josey was always there to help me with my horses, and he loved helping our students be successful too.”
R.E. became a three-time AQHA World Champion Calf Roper on three different horses; Major Chalfant in 1970, a sorrel stallion named Toebars in 1972, and Silver Creek Jak in 1974.
R.E. was well known for his keen eye for natural talent. His unique skills of selecting and training great horses, combined with his ability to work with both horse and rider to build a winning team were sought after by top ropers and speed-event competitors alike. Though he loved to compete he dedicated most of his life to helping others become champions. Over the years Josey has created numerous clinicians, NFR Contestants, and world champions in multiple different rodeo events.
“Josey lived what he taught, this is one of the many things that guided him to be the man and the world champion that he was,” explained R.E.’s nephew, Gary Arthur. “His legacy will live on forever in all the cowboys and cowgirls whose lives he touched.”
Chad Henry, father of NFR contestant Kincaid Henry, said, “Josey created the longest running rodeo and roping school in the nation. It started in 1967 and is still very successful today. We are so grateful for the many years we have spent at the Josey Ranch with R.E. and Martha, both as students, friends, and now as Josey Instructors.”
R.E. passed away in February of 2022 leaving behind the Josey Legacy, and future generations of barrel racers and ropers. R.E. had a special place in his heart for the Josey students who visited the Ranch each year. He loved to watch his students excel both in the arena chasing gold buckles and rodeo dreams, and also outside the arena becoming successful in their lives and careers.
In recognition of his life’s work in the Rodeo Industry, R.E. has been selected as an Inductee to the 2023 Class of the Rodeo Hall of Fame by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
“R.E. Josey had a huge impact on so many people in the western industry, including my own,” Said Jeb Barney, Josey Roping School Instructor. “What a well-deserved honor for such an accomplished cowboy.”
This accolade follows his wife, Martha Josey’s, Tad Lucas Award in 2022 as well as her own 2011 Rodeo Hall of Fame induction, making this one of many Halls of Fames they are in together. The Josey Legacy still stands strong as Martha Josey, nephew Gary Arthur, and their impeccable staff continue to teach barrel racers and ropers year-round on the Josey Ranch with memories of their partner and friend R.E. Josey.
Josey’s family will travel to Oklahoma in November of 2023 to accept the award on his behalf.