Showcasing the important role that the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy)
has played in maintaining and restoring native Hawaiian traditions
and culture, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a proclamation
late last year citing 2008 as Year of the Paniolo.
The proclamation recognizes the significance of 2008 as the
centennial of a stunning rodeo win by a Hawaiian cowboy at the 1908
Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. At a time when few
people even knew paniolo existed, Hawaii’s Ikua Purdy entered the
celebrated Wyoming rodeo. To the surprise of the American West, he
won the national roping competition.
Purdy and his fellow Hawaiian cowboys, Archie Kaaua and Jack
Low, put Hawaii on the map for the ranching world. To commemorate
his win and expertise, Purdy was recently inducted into the
Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame.
The organization spearheading the centennial fete in Hawaii is
the Paniolo Preservation Society (PPS), a non-profit organization
dedicated to preserving the paniolo tradition as an integral part
of the history of Hawaii and the American West. A delegation
representing Hawaii’s ranching industry will visit Cheyenne in July
for the 2008 Frontier Days, bringing Hawaii’s unique paniolo
culture to the festivities. A reciprocal visit to Waimea will be
made by a Cheyenne delegation for the Great Waiomina Centennial
Celebration on the Big Island in August. Waiomina is the Hawaiian
word for Wyoming.
An additional honor for Hawaii paniolo in 2008 was the induction
of John Palmer Parker, founder of historic Parker Ranch in Waimea,
into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of
Great Westerners. This took place during the Oklahoma City museum’s
annual Western Heritage Awards gala in April.
The 150,000-acre Parker Ranch will join in the statewide
celebration of the Year of the Paniolo during its 46th Annual
Independence Day Rodeo and Horse Races on Friday, July 4 at the
Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena.
The action begins at 9 a.m. with a grand entry parade and
continues non-stop until noon. Featuring Parker Ranch cowboys
joined by paniolo from ranches all around the Big Island, the
line-up of rodeo events is full of excitement. Spectators will
enjoy horse-racing, team sorting, double mugging and team
July 4 rodeo tickets are $5 per person in advance or $6 at the
gate. Children ages 10 and under are admitted free of charge.
Presale begins June 1 in the Parker Ranch Store at the Parker Ranch
Center. Situated between the Kohala Mountains and Mauna Kea
volcano, the rodeo grounds are 37 miles by car from Kona
International Airport and 57 miles from Hilo Airport on Highway
During The Great Waiomina Centennial Celebration in Waimea, the
following paniolo festivities will take place from Aug. 16 Sept. 1.
All events are open to the public.
Saturday, Aug. 16
Pau (horseback) Demonstration at Anna Ranch, 10 a.m. to noon (no
A celebration of the history and protocol of pau riding with
demonstrations of pau wrapping.
Real Beef by Real Cowboys at Anna Ranch, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A paniolo cookout featuring meat preparations unique to Hawaii.
Planned by the Hawaii Cattleman's Association.
Friday, Aug. 22
Cocktail Reception at Anna Ranch, 6 p.m. to 9 pm (admission)
The celebration’s opening event commemorates the actual day that
Ikua Purdy shocked the western world with his unprecedented win.
Limited public participation.
Saturday, Aug. 23
Craft Fair at Parker Ranch and Waimea shopping centers, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. (no admission)
Featuring island-style arts and crafts by local artisans.
Old Hawaii on Horseback at Minukeole Park (YMCA Lawn), 10 a.m.
to noon (admission)
A costumed reenactment of key Hawaiian historical events created
by Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske, a Waimea ranch owner and cowgirl who
raced and roped with the best of the cowboys. Today, it’s one of
the largest fundraisers for the American Heart Association in the
Horse Races and Hawaiian Cowboy-Style Concert at Paniolo Park
(Parker Ranch Rodeo Grounds)
Horse Races 4 p.m. to 5:30 pm; Concert 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The concert features top local entertainers including Melveen Leed
and Jerry Santos, with songs written to celebrate the 1908 event as
well as other paniolo and Hawaiian tunes.
Sunday, Aug. 24
Trail Ride, Paniolo Stew Cook-Off and BBQ Dinner at Kahua
Trail Ride and Ranch Activities 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Barbecue and
Entertainment 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (admission)
A day on a Hawaii ranch with a choice of horseback trail rides,
ranch activities, wagon rides, ranch tours and various cultural
activities followed by a barbecue dinner and entertainment. Limited
Friday, Aug. 29
Paniolo Paina at Pukalani Stables, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
An authentic paniolo paina (feast) to celebrate the Hawaiian
cowboy. Performances by local hula halau (schools).
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30 and 31
Parker Ranch Labor Day Rodeo at Paniolo Park (Parker Ranch Rodeo
Arena). Time/Admission TBD
Organized by the ranch cowboys and their families, this
scholarship fundraiser benefits keiki (children).
Saturday, Aug. 30
An Evening at Puuopelu, 5 to 10 pm (admission)
A formal dinner/fundraiser for the Paniolo Preservation Society
held at the historic home of the late Richard Smart, the last owner
of Parker Ranch. Entertainment by pianist Jay Larrin. Silent and
Monday, Sept. 1
Brunch and Fashion Show honoring Cowgirls of the Pacific, at
Daniel Thiebaut Restaurant, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (admission)
First annual event featuring local designers sharing their best
paniolo attire during a saucy fashion show with charming cowboys