All Inductees

Martha Wright

With the family background of Martha Wright, rodeo has been a lifetime passion. Her dad, Harry Tompkins, is a six-time world champion bull rider, two-time world champion all-around cowboy, and one of the all-time greats. Her husband, Ed, was a college steer wrestling champion and together they have become a force in the world of barrel racing. Martha grew up in Dublin, Texas, and attended Tarleton State University and Eastern New Mexico University. At Tarleton she was a member of the 1971 national champion women’s team in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, She was also the national barrel racing champion the same year.

She launched her professional rodeo career in 1971 and became rookie of the year in the Girls’ Rodeo Association and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. When Martha arrived in Oklahoma City for the NFR there were no rookie jitters as she dominated the finals, placing in nine of ten go-rounds and winning six. During her college rodeo career, Martha met Ed Wright, her future husband. Ed was an outstanding cowboy in his own right, winning the national steer wrestling championship in college rodeo in 1971. Ed attended Eastern New Mexico University.

In 1973 she won her first futurity reserve championship at the BRA Futurity. From that point she became a consistent winner at futurities, derbies and sweepstakes at major events throughout the United States. The 1989 rodeo season was another milestone for Martha as she qualified for her second NFR and also won the Texas Circuit barrel racing championship. Martha and Ed became entrepreneurs in the world of barrel racing, developing a multi-faceted business that includes barrel horse sales, nationwide clinics, pre-purchase consultations, private lessons, custom-made saddles and bits. They have also written Barrel Racing – The Wright Way, that has been referred to as a barrel racing encyclopedia.

In 1970 Martha was honored at The Cowboy Capitol Walk of Fame in Stephenville, Texas. The Walk of Fame recognizes cowboys and cowgirls who have made an impact on Western heritage, which is an integral part of Stephenville and the surrounding area. It was a special honor for her since her father, Harry Tompkins and grandparents, Evereit and Eva Colburn had previously been recognized. In October, 2000 Martha received the highest honor of her career. She was awarded the Tud Lueas Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.