WAIMEA — While graduation parties are in full swing and most high school students are enjoying their summer vacation, high school rodeo athletes are still competing for state and national titles.
The Hawaii High School Rodeo Association held their state championships last weekend at Parker Ranch Rodeo Arena, where cowboys and cowgirls battled for the right to be crowned state champion and travel to Rock Springs, Wyoming, to compete at nationals, which being on July 14.
The five-day event featured competition in traditional rodeo events such as bull riding and barrel racing, as well as two uniquely Hawaiian events, the po’o wai’u and double mugging. In the po’o wai’u riders must rope a steer and tie it to a Y shaped pole in the arena. Double mugging requires a rider to rope a steer while a runner on the ground subdues the steer. Together they work to tie three legs with a piggin’ string.
In the end, two paniolo stood out above the rest and took home the coveted All-Around Cowboy and Cowgirl belt buckles and saddles, Waiakea’s Trisyn Kalawaia and Konawaena’s Kilihea Mockchew.
Kalawaia combined a first place finish in bareback riding along with five second place finishes, while Mockchew captured championship buckles in goat tying and cutting as well as recording strong finishes in pole bending, breakaway and team roping.
Kalawaia understands that attending nationals is a great opportunity to be exposed to rodeo competition on a grand scale. He believes it will help prepare him for rodeo at the college level and beyond.
“Going to nationals in Wyoming is just a stepping stone to accomplishing my dream of making it to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas,” he said.
With both the district and state All-Around Cowboy titles to his name, Trisyn is certainly on the right path.
Mockchew also doubled up on All-Around Cowgirl titles, capturing the district title earlier in the season.
Ka’ohu Haalilio took first place in the po’o wai’u event and then teamed up with incoming association student president Dawstin Hoopai to claim the double mugging title.
Oahu’s Shelby Wallen was named the HHSRA Queen and will represent the association during the upcoming season.
The competition for belts buckles and saddles was exciting, but it is important to note that these student athletes were also competing for scholarships and the opportunity to pursue their sport at the college level. Eight student athletes received scholarships during the awards ceremony.
Ka’ohu Haalilio and Kala’a Andrade were awarded the Skip Shuman Scholarship, while Diana Lopes, Jerikah Valencia Gomes, Ka’ohu Haalilio, Dawstin Hoopai, Sierra Matsumoto, and Lilyana Ferguson received merit scholarships.
Editor’s note: Thane Milhoan runs the Big Island Sports Network, which you can find on Instagram and Facebook.
Barrel racing: Sierra Matsumoto
Pole bending: Jerikah Valencia-Gomes
Breakaway: Casera Silva
Goat tying: Kilihea Mockchew
Steer wrestling: Westin Joseph
Bull riding: Westin Joseph
Tie down: Ka`ohu Haalilio
Team roping: Kale Onaka & Lenaia Andrade
Reining cow horse: Camela Haalilio
Trap shooting: Brayden Okubo
.22 light rifle: Logan Kidani
Girls cutting: Kilihea Mockchew
Boys cutting: Daniel Miranda
Bareback broncs: Trisyn Kalawaia
Double mugging: Dawstin Hoopai & Ka`ohu Haalilio
Po’o Wai U: Ka`ohu Haalilio
Rookie girls: Casera Silva
Rookie boy: Daniel Miranda
Hawaii’s own all-around: Ka`ohu Haalilio
Reserve all-around girl: Casera Silva
Reserve all-around boy: Westin Joseph
All-Around girls: Kilihea Mockchew
All-around boy: Trisyn Kalawaia
2019-2020 HHSRA queen: Shelby Wallen
Teskeys Top Hand: Ka`ohu Haalilio
Spirit Award: Anuhea Awai Dickson
Tyson Durfey Sportsmanship: Dawstin Hoopai
AQHA Horse of the Year “Girl”: R Smokin Foxy-Anuhea Winters
HHSRA State Student President: Dawstin Hoopai
Skip Schuman Scholarship: Ka`ohu Haalilio & Kala`a Andrade
Merit Scholarship: Diana Lopes, Jerikah Valencia Gomes, Ka`ohu Haalilio, Dawstin Hoopai, Sierra Matsumoto, Lilyana Ferguson
Courage Character Community by Corral Boots: Lilyana Ferguson & Ka`ohu Haalilio