Indian National Finals Rodeo

Indian National Finals Rodeo

Hall of Fame

Josia Johns

Josia Johns - INFR Hall of Fame

Josiah Johns born in Okeechobee, FL to a Seminole Woman of the Panther Clan, in a time when the world was at war, jobs were scarce, and there just wasn’t much money. Josiah’s family traveled from one labor field to another trying to make a living and raise their families in the Seminole tradition. When Josiah became of school age, he was fostered to the Underhill family of Okeechobee to attain a better education. The Underhill brothers taught Josiah about the life of a working cowboy, including breaking colts. That training would result in Josiah pursuing a career in rodeo. For entertainment local cities would produce rodeos where local cowboys would come to town and match their skill with other ranching cowboys.

From this spirit of friendly competition professional rodeo evolved in the cities. These scheduled events became known as the Florida Circuit. Josiah was a true all-around cowboy; he competed in every major event in rodeo. Once when asked what event was considered to be the hardest event, his reply was "The entry fee is the hardest event!". Josiah traveled all over the southeastern United States, competing in rodeos from Florida to the famous Madison Square Gardens in New York City. The organizations he chose to rodeo under were the Florida Cowboy Association and the International Rodeo Association of Paul Valley Oklahoma. Josiah’s accomplishments were many.
Josia Johns - INFR Hall of Fame He was crowned all-around champion cowboy many times. Josiah worked all ends of the arena, he was champion of the Steer Wrestling event several times for the Florida Cowboy Association, and the Saddle Bronc champion at the famous Circle T Rodeo in Indiantown, FL. Josiah’s rodeo career extended far beyond the rodeo arena; he co-founded the Southeastern Indian Rodeo Association (S.I.R.A.) which became a qualified region at the first Indian National Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1971. The S.I.R.A. currently exists as the Eastern Indian Rodeo Association (E.I.R.A.).

Josiah’s travels during his rodeo career eventually sparked interest into a new business venture in Indian Gaming. This venture began with humble beginnings of a highstakes bingo facility, in a little red barn renovated from a feed store/beauty salon. In November 1983, only a couple of years after opening the “bingo hall,” an auto accident sadly and unexpectedly claimed the lives of both Josiah and his wife, Lucy. Josiah was not only a great Indian cowboy but an active member in his community and a mentor to the children all around. Chris Ledoux wrote a song about Josiah glorifying him and his rodeo life, titled "Come a riding Josiah". Josiah is survived by 2 sisters 1 brother, his 2 children. Josia Johns - INFR Hall of Fame

2016 Inductees

  • Levi Black Water Sr.
  • Ed Holyan
  • Julis Y Begay
  • Traci Vaile
  • Dee Keener

2015 Inductees

  • Dave Best
  • Sam Bird
  • Kelvin Fox
  • Carole Jackson-Holyan
  • Jerry Small

2014 Inductees

2013 Inductees

2012 Inductees

2011 Inaugural Inductees