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.
Josiah competing at the 1976 INFR in Salt Lake City.
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