May 29, 2011
During my senior year of high school, my basketball team took a trip down to Disney World for a tournament. There was a boys wrestling tournament and a boys basketball tournament also going on there at the same time we were there, and we all ended up staying at the All-Star Sports Resort during our stay. Being the silly high school girls we were, of course we wanted to meet all the boys on our off time from the court. One particular person I remember meeting on this trip was a boy from Texas. I can’t remember his name, but my friends and I all thought he was a very sweet guy who portrayed the epitome of southern hospitality. I had never been to Texas, but he told me that if I ever went I would HAVE to see a rodeo while I was there. Well, I still haven’t made it to Texas, but I did get to see my first rodeo! While on our honeymoon in Hawaii, Zack and I were able to check off yet another one of my bucket list items! I know you are probably thinking “A rodeo? In Hawaii?” which is exactly what I thought at first too. We met a local Hawaiian at a bar called Tahiti Nui the night before. He was from the South Shore of Kauai, but he was up on the North Shore for the Waipa Rodeo. At the time, we weren’t really sure if he was being serious, or if he was just “messing with the tourists,” but we decided to check it out since it wasn’t too far from where we were staying. Turns out, he WAS being serious and you could smell the horses and cattle upon pulling into the Waipa Ranch. We later found out that cowboy and ranch culture is a big part of the Hawaiian life. More than a century ago, a man by the name of John Palmer Parker contracted Mexicans (called Paniolo by the Hawaiians) to come to Hawaii and teach the locals how to rope and ride a generation before their American counterparts in the “Wild West.” The beef business boomed and the first ranch was born. Since then, many other ranches have been born, and it still remains a part of culture today. You have your surfers, and then you have your cowboys. As strange as that sounds, it somehow works! Upon our arrival, it was clear that we were among a crowd of locals who had gathered their families around to enjoy an entire day of rodeo. Being that it was a small town rodeo, there were no huge grandstands; just one side of small bleachers, a ton of trucks pulled up, and lots of tailgating chairs to host the audience. There was a grill to serve up some Kalua pig sandwiches and burgers and lots of kids running around. To be honest, I really wanted to see some bull riding, but it was a little too small town for those big bulls. However, there was lots of calf roping and mugging which was really cool to watch since neither of us had seen that before. We chose our favorite cowboys (and one kickass cowgirl!) and cheered them on as they took off chasing the calves. I have to admit I did feel bad for the little calves. Although they weren’t hurt, they didn’t look like they were having too much fun. Overall, it was a good day and a good learning experience to see a different part of the Hawaiian culture. It also segues into my next completed adventure, so stay tuned!