Read more about rodeos in Hawaii at

Cowboys in Paradise

Cowboys in Paradise? Absolutely. The Aloha Islands have a thriving cowboy culture and that means rodeos, but be prepared for a unique experience. As with everything else here the local rodeo offers both a traditional rodeo and a switch up and renaming of events with ingenuous twists.

Of course you have the standard Bronco Riding, Bull Riding and Team Roping events; but here we do much more with our keiki (kids) making sure they have their share of events to draw them into the experience.

Our New Book

We have our own Hawaiian Style Rodeo, and coming from Texas where in high school Rodeo is a school sport activity; this makes for an opportunity to see some ingenuity at work.

The events start off like any All American rodeo. The flags are shown, Lee Greenwood sings God Bless the USA in the background. There’s the military salute, the National Anthem and the Blessing Prayer for safety of the Men and the Livestock.

The events

Double Mugging Calf Roping – this is basically a half grown Bull Calf weighing at least 300 pounds or more. You have one cowboy on the horse to rope the “calf” and one person at the end of the arena who then comes over once the horse and rider have stopped to wrestle it to the ground and tie the feet together. Six second hold and a 120 second time limit.

Steer Decorating. Yes Steer decorating is an event. The steer is decorated with a beautiful ribbon on its hind end and chased out of the chute by a girl on horseback. The goal is to see how fast she can reach down and pull the ribbon off the steer; hopefully without falling off the horse. This event is for young woman ages 10 and up. Their fearlessness can be a little unnerving.

Mutton busting is another popular event with the keiki (children) going crazy trying to ride sheep as if they were bulls.

Our Mixed Roping event is a team event but with one male and one female. Hawaii is all about equal opportunity.

For the Match Barrel Racing two contestants race around the barrels at the same time in a kind of daring dance on horseback. Rider 1 goes to the far right barrel and rider 2 starts at middle barrel both doing figure eights. It’s something I have never seen anywhere else.

The last and final event was the Cowboy Hula. This is Hawaii remember. A bull is let loose to chase a cowboy in a hula skirt to Hawaiian music and hopefully doing some semblance of a hula dance while running. Yes, it is as funny as it sounds, and the crowds love it.

So when you come to the great State of Hawaii, whether it is Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu or Kauai look to see if a Rodeo is happening, just expect to be entertained and not be at your average Rodeo.

If You Go

Each island has several rodeos throughout the year. This one took place on Oahu and is the largest. You can find information on rodeos at CowboyCalendar and HawaiiRodeoNews

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Lita McCoy resides on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. When not working as an accountant she is off exploring water or land on the Islands and absorbing all of the life that means Living Aloha.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Published: July 15, 2016

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