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Makawao Rodeo and Paniolo Parade

July 2, 2009
Trisha Smith

Celebrate our nation’s independence and the Hawaiian Isles’ paniolo heritage during the 2009 Makawao Rodeo and Paniolo Parade from Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5.

Friends and families gather Upcountry each year to celebrate the Fourth of July with a weekend filled with cowboys, cowgirls and country western festivities that make smalltown Maui so special. And what better place to celebrate than Makawao Town, with its rustic charm reminiscent of the old Hawaiiana days, a place many local folks are proud to call home.

Some would say that many of the best rodeo fans in the world live on Maui, and in fact, the Paniolo Preservation Society contests that the Hawaiian Islands had working cowboys wrangling cattle in the Valley Isle’s wide-open fields years before the term the “Wild West” was even muttered on the Mainland.

Back in 1956, the Makawao Rodeo was originally sponsored by the Maui Roping Club, led by Ka‘ono‘ulu Ranch Manager Harold F. “Oskie” Rice, who is best known as “the Cowboy of Cowboys in Hawai‘i.” He donated his own land for the construction of the well-known arena in Upcountry where the state’s largest rodeo continues to be held today.

Join 2009’s Grand Marshall Jamie Dowsett—a beloved Hawaiian paniolo—for the 54th Annual Makawao Rodeo, presented by the Maui Roping Club at the Oskie Rice Arena off Olinda Road. The rodeo’s qualifying runs, or “slack days,” will be held on Thursday and Friday mornings, July 2 and 3, at 9 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Don’t miss Friday night’s exciting Bull Bash at 7 p.m., where brave individuals jump at the chance to tame the beasts for some risky entertainment that’s always a crowd pleaser. Tickets are available for $20.

Rodeo competitions commence on Saturday, July 4, at 1 p.m., and again on Sunday, July 5, at the same time. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 seniors/students and kids can enjoy the fun for just $5.

Enjoy barrel racing, calf roping and bareback bronco riding with island flair, with such unique events as Po‘o Wai U, where paniolo display traditional techniques that were used in the olden days to round up wild cattle. There will also be live music, country western dancing and some hearty chuck, or cowboy fare, for all to grind on.

The 44th Annual Makawao Paniolo Parade falls this year, rightly so, on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4, beginning at 9 a.m. This year’s theme is “Na Paniolo Maoli No,” which translates to “The Original Cowboy,” and coincides with the 50th anniversary of Hawai‘i’s statehood.

The patriotic parade runs from Veteran’s Cemetery to Mayor Eddie Tam Community Center. No parking is available in town, yet folks can catch a free shuttle to and from town to the arena grounds. The shuttle runs from 7 to 9 a.m., then again after the parade until noon. Public restrooms will be available at T. Komoda Store & Bakery’s store parking lot, the library, post office and community center.

Also, just before the parade at 8:45 a.m., all are invited to a stick horse race from Aloha Cowboy on Baldwin Avenue to the Makawao Library. Giddy up!

Keep an eye out for Mayor Charmaine Tavares and other special guests during the small town parade along the streets of Makawao, which will be filled with music, colorful floats, cars from Maui Classic Cruisers and more. “Stand by your man” while enjoying a special appearance on horseback by Dolly Patron look-alike, Rose Freitas, as she portrays one of country western America’s favorite cowgirls.

Make sure your boots are shiny, hang onto your hat and tighten up that saddle for the this Fourth of July weekend and the Makawao Rodeo and Paniolo Parade. Yee haw!



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