Categorized | Rodeo, Sports

‘Panaewa Stampede’ at Panaewa Equestrian Center (Feb. 13-14)

When: 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, rodeo starts at noon (slack starts at 8 a.m.)
and 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

The Hawaii Horse Owners Association hosts its 18th annual rodeo “The 2010 Panaewa Stampede” at the Panaewa Equestrian Center in Hilo.

Rodeo Clown JJ Harrison will return this year to keep the spectators and contestants alike on the edge of their seats or saddles as the case may be. In addition to traditional events, this popular two-day rodeo will feature three uniquely Hawaiian competitions: the “Poo Wai U”, “Double Mugging” and “Wahine (Women) Mugging” Events. Plus, Bull Riding with our cowboys and the Bull Run with the spectators!

The Hawaiian cowboy, known as “paniolo”, have a long history of handling cows, beginning in 1793 when King Kamehameha I was given a gift of a herd of cattle. Not having a ranch in the traditional sense, Kamehameha placed a “kapu” (taboo) on these cattle and allowed them to roam freely to insure their survival. By the 1830s, the wild cattle had become quite a nuisance and were often dangerous.

As trade and commerce with the world outside of Hawaii grew, the Hawaiian Kings needed goods to trade to support their royal expenses. The idea of commercial uses of these wild cattle thus came about. To help teach the Hawaiians how to handle the cattle, vaqueros were brought in from Mexico. The Hawaiian word “paniolo” was derived from this Spanish influence.

The “Poo Wai U” was a technique developed by the Paniolo to capture these free ranging, wild cattle. A wild steer would be lassoed around its horns and then tied to a tree. Overnight the cow would hopefully wear itself out. The next day the “paniolo” returns to roundup the steer.

At the rodeo event commemorating this activity, a cowboy will have to lasso a steer by the horns, pass the rope through a Y-shaped pole (simulating a tree), holding the steer to the pole and tie the rope to his horse. As the steers used for this event are not your friendly tame cow, the cowboy and his horse have to work well together.

“Double Mugging” is another unique event found only in Hawaiian rodeos. Harking back to the story of capturing wild cattle, tying them to a tree was only the first part of returning from areas overgrown with trees to the ranch with a cankerous wild cow. In this rodeo event, two “paniolo” will work together to knock a cow to the ground and tie up three of its legs.

This event involves full size steers and often turns into a wrestling match between man and beast or between women and beast in the Wahine Double Mugging Event.

Rodeo attendees will also be treated to roping, mugging and bronc riding along with Wahine (women) and Keiki (children) events.

Tickets will be on sale on both days at the Equestrian Center on Highway 11 going out of Hilo toward Volcano. Turn at the signs for the rodeo and the Panaewa Zoo. Admission is $6 for adults and children under 12 are free.

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