Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024|
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Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald file photo
A competitor throws his lasso over the calf's horn while participating in calf roping during the 2022 Pana'ewa Stampede Rodeo.
The 30th annual Pana‘ewa Stampede Rodeo is back this weekend without any pandemic-related restrictions.
The event begins 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center in Hilo — rain or shine.
Organizers are expecting a strong turnout.
“We have more parking and more food, because we ran out of both last year, which was surprising for all of us,” said organizer Nancy Cabral. “There have been about 50 people consistently working on the program and the facility since the first weekend of January. It takes a lot of planning.”
The Hawaii Horse Owners Association has prepared the facility by providing 500 more parking stalls around the track to alleviate street parking on Stainback Highway. There also will be about 50 food vendors and 20 craft vendors, so food will be readily available through both days.
While rain is in the forecast, there is no chance the rodeo will be canceled due to weather.
“We have never canceled for rain and do not plan to at all,” Cabral said. “We definitely recommend rubber boots, rain jackets and umbrellas for those not under the covered bleachers.”
Because of all of the recent rain, the association has purchased $8,000 worth of gravel to beef up the roadway to the facility.
“While the Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center is technically run by the county, all maintenance is done by the Hawaii Horse Owners Association,” Cabral said. “When the county wanted to close the center 30 years ago, our club got together to make sure that didn’t happen. Ever since then, we’ve been able to put on this annual rodeo for our island cowboys.”
The 30th annual rodeo will feature all the traditional rodeo events, including the uniquely Hawaiian competitions, the Po‘o Wai U and Double Mugging.
The rodeo also is bringing back Mutton Busting for keiki, and adult cowboys will have the opportunity to compete in the new event, Wild Bronc Riding.
The more adventurous in the audience can sign a waiver if they appear to be “sane and sober” to “play” with the bulls and earn a cash reward.
Rodeos are slowly returning back to normal in Hawaii County, although there aren’t as many as there were pre-COVID-19.
“There are usually four rodeos on the island every year, but since COVID-19, that has not been the case,” Cabral said. “There were only two last year, and I believe that may be the same this year.”
The Equestrian Center is next to the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo on Highway 11 going out of Hilo toward Volcano. Turn at the signs for the rodeo and the zoo.
More information about contestants, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, vendors and tickets can be found at panaewastampederodeo.com.
Tickets are available for preorder for $10 per day online. Tickets will be $15 for adults at the door, and children 12 years and younger are free.
Email Kelsey Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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