Last week I had guests from Australia who were here for the US Team Roping Championship. Darby McMartin placed third in the section 8 team roping event. Check out his beautiful new buckle, a cowboy's pride. Interestingly enough, they told me that wearing these beautiful buckles is not that well accepted in Australia.
The event took place at Piiholo Ranch. The McMartins were the only participants from Australia. This was a qualifying event for the big bucks "Shoot Out" in Oklahoma next year.
I am not a cowgirl, nor have I ever been into horses. I enjoy a great horseback ride, but have to admit, that the closest I have been to the rodeo is the wonderful 4th of July parade. I really enjoy seeing the horses and riders all decked out in their beautiful leis and finest clothes. The horses are so well groomed, and the colorful riders show obvious pride. It is an awesome site.
This week I learned about the roping event from the McMartins. I was told that roping cattle is how they catch the cattle to inoculate them, treat them for different ailments or to "pull a calf." So, it is important to be able to do it well.
Besides the mainland cowboys, many local paniolos also participated in the event. Darby roped with two local partners, one from Kauai, and another paniolo from the Big Island.
The Hawaiian Paniolo has a colorful past, and still stands out while working or playing hard today. Many of the paniolo traditions , such as rope making, horse training, shoeing, feather lei making, lauhala weaving, and saddle making continue on.
In 1793, 5 longhorn cattle were gifted to King Kamehameha by Captain Vancouver. The king placed a "kapu" (keep out, hands off, etc.) so the Hawaiians left the cattle alone to flourish.
By 1819, the cattle population had exploded. Kamehameha III sent a high chief to California, which was still part of Mexico at that time, to invite Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) to come to Hawaii.
Paniola came from the word Espanola for the Mexican cowboys who came and taught the Hawaiians how to ride horses and rope the "pipi" (cattle)....this word later evolved to paniolo.
The paniolos carry a deep love and respect for their beloved Hawaii. Hawaiian cowboys also have a rich history of hard work on the rugged slopes and open plains of our islands.
In the last couple of years, some wonderful pictorial stories and photo journals have been published on the Hawaiian Paniolo.
Makawao is the place to be during rodeo time, so make your plans for next year's 4 of July celebration.
A hui ho, until the next time...