The Grand Entry at 10 a.m. Sunday at CJM Country Stables in Poipu marks the start of the 18th year for the Kauai All Girls Rodeo Association.
“The cowgirls are so supportive of each other,” said Tammy Pu‘u, a KAGRA member. “It is a family affair.”
Since joining in 2003, she’s been a timer, announcer, director, and even served as association president.
“I still feel like a fish out of water at times, but I do love it,” she said.
The Sunday rodeo marks the start of the KAGRA calendar, the other events coming on March 5, April 2, May 21, June 25, and the final one, Aug. 27.
Coralyn Murayama said she’s been riding in it from the beginning in 1999, when Melissa Ornellas put on the first series of six rodeos out at the Waipa Arena in Hanalei.
“Melissa is the one who had the idea of starting this rodeo series for women,” Murayama said. “And in 2000, we formed KAGRA because we wanted a rodeo specifically for the women of Kauai where we could do series of six events, not necessarily in an everyday rodeo.”
There are about 40 members, ranging from grade schoolers to grandmothers.
“I am so grateful for the wonderful group of women we have today,” said Murayama, who finished 2016 with third-place honors in Dally Team Roping – Header.
Kim Medeiros earned All Around Cowgirl honors last year.
Nancy McMahon joined KAGRA about 15 years ago and won Most Improved in 2005.
“I was hooked after that. Once you get that first buckle, you want more,” she said.
Pu‘u said she recently saw a commercial from the American Quarter Horse Association.
“‘I may hold the reins, but you (my horse) hold my heart,’” she said. “This is so true. We truly love the animals we have and feel so blessed to be able to enjoy them.”
The Kauai All Girl Rodeo Association operates under the nonprofit status of the YMCA of Kauai.
Admission to the rodeo is free. There are food trucks available to whet appetites and wash down the dust with non-alcoholic beverages.