Paniolo of Maui

Cowboys probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think of Hawaii. But since 1838, when King Kamehameha III invited Spanish-Mexican vaqueros from California to teach Hawaiians how to manage wild herds, horseback riding paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) have been wrangling cattle in Hawaii’s cool upland plains.

Although the cattle industry has declined, paniolo traditions continue to live on today in places like Makawao in Upcountry Maui. For more than 50 years the annual Makawao Rodeo has been held every Fourth of July, showcasing a fun family parade and traditional rodeo competitions. You can learn about paniolo hands-on by going on a horseback-riding excursion at Piiholo Ranch in Makawao or other ranches in Maui.