PO‘IPU — Randall Soares walked off with the most buckles and Melvin Joseph and Kain Silva pocketed the most prize money during the 12th Annual Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo at the CJM Country Stables which wrapped up Sunday.
Working through preliminaries and qualifying rounds starting Friday and Saturday, finalists gathered in the CJM Country Stables arena, Sunday, welcomed by the warm Po‘ipu sun and soothing slack key stylings of George and Keoki Kahumoku, a father-son team who also accompanied Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Nalani Brun of the county’s Office of Economic Development during the rendering of the national and state anthems.
Soares promptly made his mark, taking first place in the Po‘o Y U event, a uniquely Hawai‘ian rodeo event which traces its roots to the kingdom of Hawai‘i when the king needed an inventory of wild cows. Soares topped that event on a 20.40 go, edging out the 2010 Paniolo Champion Tommy Aiu and former paniolo champion Adam Brun who ended the day in second place on a 23.44 go.
Britni-Ludington-Braun successfully defended her Barrels championship by topping this year’s field of 10 finalists on a 36.04 average, Kristyn Vasconcelles ended with a 36.22 average following a strong first day showing where she broke the 18-second mark in her run.
Cousins Stoney and Joseph topped the Open Team Roping event on a 14.43 average on two runs, followed by Chaz Rita teaming with Marcus Laymon.
Ross Farias was another successful champion, defending his Double Mugging title by partnering with Soares for a 22.98 run. The team of Melvin Joseph and Lawrence Mundon filled second place.
The team of Kristyn Vasconcelles and Kain Silva topped the Mixed Team Roping event with a 16.12 on two go’s, taking the event by more than two seconds over the following team and beat out last year’s champion team of Kristene Sugai and oseph.
Sandra Akita, the 2010 champion in the Wahine Steer Undecorating event, was in Wyoming participating in the National High School Rodeo finals and unable to defend her title which was earned by Maile Sugai Masada of Maui who took a break from announcer duties to undecorate her steer on a 3.49 run, Krystel Estocados taking second place in that event.
Pat “Sam” Brun Jr. teamed with Daryl Medeiros, responsible for printing the championship shirts as a sponsor each year, topped the Century team roping event on a 19.04 on two go’s, beating out prior year’s champions Clayton Chow and Duane Shimogawa, Shimogawa finishing fourth with Kahea White. Adam Brun and Jim Miranda filled in second place in the event.
Vasconcelles topped the Wahine Steer Riding, a new event for this year’s rodeo, with a 5.27-second ride followed by Joelle Tafoya who was able to hang on for 3.07 seconds.
White teamed with Sheldon Souza to top the Number 4 Team Roping event on a 22.39 on two go’s, White continuing to take second place with Derwin Lemn forming a team. The top run beat out last year’s champions Clayton and Clay Chow.
Albert and Randall Soares and Michael Bandmann of Soares Ranch was the sole qualifier of the Wild Cow Race, the event finale where wild cows are brought in from the pasture and had to be saddled up by a team of three cowboys.
The rodeo wrapped up the first weekend of the Koloa Plantation Days, celebrating and perpetuating the plantation history as well as the variety of cultures which came together to define “camp life.”
Visit www.koloaplantationdays.com for more information on the 27 events which are a part of the nine-day celebration made possible through the support of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and numerous community sponsors.