Oct 08, 2014
Once upon a time, Waimea-born Ikua Purdy was the world’s most famous cowboy. In 1908, Purdy won the steer roping championship at the then foremost cowboy competition, Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
According to a Cheyenne newspaper, Purdy and fellow Big Island paniolo Archie Ka`aua and Jack Low dazzled the record crowd of twelve thousand spectators.
“The Hawaiian cowboys had to ride wild broncos instead of rodeo horses they were promised,’ said Mana Purdy, trust natural resources manager, of his great great uncle’s excellent adventure. “They used an island technique, training the horses in the lakes and rivers so they couldn’t do much bucking, and then dominated the steer roping event: Purdy took 1st, Ka`aua 3rd, and Low 6th.”
Waimea is home to a statue honoring Purdy, 1999 National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee. A number of songs were written about the three paniolo who journeyed far and won the hearts and respect of the American cowboy.
Here come the roughriders, Brave Hawaiian cowboys number one, They drink from sparkling waters, On the plains of Waimea