Paniolo open Koloa Plantation Days festivities

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Joelle Souza shows some of her Western fashion bling.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Joelle Souza shows off a “super dressed up” outfit. Souza is co-hosting the first Western Fashion Show that will be a part of the Sunset Ho‘olaule‘a and Koloa Plantation Days opening festivities at the Poipu Athletic Club Saturday, July 21.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Sheldon Souza, wearing a birthday shirt bought for him by his wife Joelle, is hoping to beat the eight-second bull-riding whistle during the three days of Koloa Plantations Days rodeo, starting Friday at CJM Country Stables in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Savannah Souza shows a princess pose at the family’s ranch. Souza is hoping to become a rodeo princess during the Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo Friday Night Bash at CJM Country Stables in Poipu July 20.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Savannah Souza will be vying for the princess title during the Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo Friday Night Bash, July 20 at CJM Country Stables in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / TGIFR!DAY

    Joelle Souza and her family, including daughter Montana wearing chaps “just like the kind daddy uses,” husband Sheldon, and daughter Savannah, who is hoping to become a rodeo princess.

Fashion influencers are a more recent addition to today’s lifestyle, and Joelle Souza of Omao is one of them.

Married to Sheldon Souza, a bull rider on the rodeo circuit, Joelle and her daughters, Savannah and Montana, recently moved back to Omao from the Mainland, where she earned her “fashion influencer” title for posting blogs about Western wear.

“I was inspired after going to rodeo with Sheldon,” Joelle said. “Rodeo is super dangerous, and I would get super dressed up because you just never know what’s going to happen. I do it for Sheldon.”

Joelle and her family are involved in both the Koloa Plantation Days Rodeo and the Sunset Ho‘olaule‘a that will open the 2018 edition of Koloa Plantation Days July 20 and continues until July 29 in and around the Koloa town and Poipu area — site of the first sugar mill in Hawaii.

“Savannah will be at the rodeo trying for one of the princess crowns,” Joelle said. “Sheldon is a bull rider, and he wants the buckle for that event.”

The crowning of the 19th annual rodeo queen and princess is one of the new facets for the three-day rodeo that takes place at the CJM Country Stables, about a mile past the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa in Poipu.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 for the first Friday Night Bash where ropers in high dollar roping 5 will be in the arena along with bull riders attempting to make the eight-second whistle, and women riding in the first go of wahine barrel racing. Outside the arena, music from Not My First Rodeo will tease dancers “until the cows come home.”

Admission is charged on all three days.

“Joelle bought me this shirt for my birthday,” Sheldon said, using his denim jacket to ward off the approaching rains. “But my birthday is still a ways away. It’s nice, but not my birthday yet.”

Pa‘u riders in traditional lei will be escorted by defending rodeo buckle holders Saturday, July 21, during the grand entry, opening a day filled with more action as paniolo compete for some of the $38,000 purse during Hawaiian heritage day.

July 22 closes the three-day series with a family and fun day that includes pony rides, a petting zoo, carnival games, and keiki rodeo events including junior bull riding, barrel racing, sheep riding and stick horse reach roping.

Champions from the three days of competition will emerge from the arena dust in roping, bull riding, and this year’s wild cow-milking contest, and Hawaii’s unique double mugging after gates open at 10:30 a.m.

“Joyce Miranda has been working hard on this rodeo,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, Koloa Plantation Days events coordinator. “She’s come up with a lot of new facets to this already popular family event.”

Under the Koloa Plantation Days overall theme of Landmarks in Time, Joelle takes the spotlight July 21 during the free Sunset Ho‘olaule‘a and festival opening that takes place at the Poipu Beach Athletic Club from 5 to 8:30 p.m., with support from Kimes Ranch and Ariat.

Known as “The Aloha Cowgirl,” Joelle, who has been invited to participate in the Denim and Velvet Dec. 9 show during the Wranglers National Finals Rodeo at Stetson Country Christmas in Las Vegas, will be on stage with Brian Doty from “This is Country TV” to present the first Western fashion show.

“Brian is flying here from Texas especially for the show,” Joelle said. “The show is just part of a two-episode segment Brian’s crew will be doing on Kauai ranchers.”

A full schedule of the 10 days of celebrating the plantation influence and lifestyles will appear in The Garden Island on Wednesday.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. harry oyama July 13, 2018 7:04 pm Reply

    I wonder if they will be serving those world famous “Texas mountain oysters”, you know after the bulls are castrated? Finger licking good

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