Often times, in the bookstore, customers will ask if we have books about the “paniolos”, the cowboys of Hawaii. Over the years, there have been some very interesting books that detail the paniolo culture and history, but more often than not, these great books go out of print and become difficult to find.
Luckily for us, authors David Wolman and Julian Smith, have uncovered a nearly-forgotten history of three Hawaiian cowboys who ventured into the wild west against all odds and showed the power and spirit of the paniolo culture.
Newly-released “Aloha Rodeo” is the true-life story of how these three paniolos at the turn of the 20th century decided to take up the challenge of the greatest rodeo in the nation, the Frontier Days festival in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Despite having to overcome the great distance of travel, the heavy skepticism of the mainland culture of the time, and the challenge of being in an unfamiliar land, Ikua Purdy and his cousins Jack Low &Archie Kaaua were willing to reveal to the cowboy world what the paniolo folks were capable of.
Even having the advance reader copy on display in the store for customers to take a look at before the book’s official release (which was May 27, 2019), both visitors and residents have been incredibly fascinated and curious about the efforts and successes of these three paniolos.
If the book had been available to buy, we would have sold quite a few copies already!
With great praise from noted historian, such as famed author Simon Winchester, “Aloha Rodeo” is sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of readers from all over with its great narrative style about this amazing event and these three men from Hawaii that made history in the most unexpected of ways.
Ed Justus and Cynthia Lynn are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.