Peaman: Events canceled

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KAILUA-KONA — Peaman’s events are canceled indefinitely.

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KAILUA-KONA — Peaman’s events are canceled indefinitely.

After state officials sought a $10,000 fine against Sean “Peaman” Pagett, which led to an agreement that the organizer seek permits for future events from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Pagett announced on Facebook that his popular Peaman events have been canceled “for 2017 and beyond.”

“Howdy, all PEAMAN events for 2017 and beyond have been canceled,” the post read. “We will continue to put on the lava kids PEAWEE races.”

The Lava Kids Peawee races, Pagett said in the announcement posted to the “PeaMan…Frozen Pea Productions” Facebook group, will continue as long as there are fewer than 50 swimmers.

Those events, he added, will still be free “and every kid will go home with a fun toy or something silly.”

Pagett could not be reached by telephone Thursday. His attorney, Jason Braswell, didn’t return a request for comment.

For those who’ve been participating in Peaman’s events, the monthly races have become an integral part of the local community.

For three decades, everyone from top triathletes to ordinary folks looking for a good bit of exercise have found exactly that in the free races, such as the “Peaman Splish-Splash and Superbowl Shuffle Biathlon” and “The Peas on Earth Biathlon.”

“For a lot of us, it’s part of our heritage here on the Big Island,” said Waimea resident Joe Loschiavo, who’s been involved in the races for the last 25 years and was disappointed to learn the races could be going away.

“It would kill a lot of us, to be honest,” he said. “It would break my heart.”

Loschiavo first got involved through his volunteer activities with Ironman. The races, he said, were a matter of “sharing our resources,” adding that, “if anything, Sean is one of our natural resources.”

The races were also a great opportunity for local youths. Loschiavo said because the races attracted athletes of all skill levels, it gave kids a chance to meet and interact with top professionals, including professional Ironman competitors.

“Ironman becomes real to them,” he said. “It’s not something that’s just on TV.”

Kona resident Lynette Randerson started participating in the events during a five-year stay on the island between 2002 and 2007. When her family moved back in 2013, her oldest son was already into running and started doing Peaman races himself.

Because the events are free, she said, the races are a financially viable option for her family. And her 4-year-old, she added, “considers Peaman his best friend.”

The DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Resources recently sought a $10,000 fine against Pagett over allegations that the events violate state rules — specifically one concerning authorization for staging a regatta, marine parade, boat race or exhibition.

Even after prosecutors successfully asked that the citation be dismissed in court earlier this year saying the rule in question didn’t apply to Pagett’s events, the department still pursued an administrative action against Pagett before the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The DOBOR administrator’s submittal to the board sought an administrative fine of a total $10,000. At a meeting earlier this month, the board dismissed the fine with assurance from another attorney who represented Pagett, Billy Kenoi, that he would seek permits from DOBOR for future events.

The board also voted to confirm that the agency’s rule authorizes the boating division to require and issue permits for marine events including swim races.

Triathlete Luis De La Torre, who took part in his first Peaman race in 1995, said the events are an “enduring landmark” of multi-sport events in Hawaii.

“I just think events like this are important, because what else would we rather have our kids doing?” he asked, calling Peaman events “an incredible and vital source of rounding out our youth.”

And if Peaman events do go away, he said, it’ll be a loss for the local community.

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“It’s just one less positive thing that the community gets to have,” he said. “And I just think that’s incredibly sad.”

Pagett said in the announcement that this Sunday’s event for children, a 200-yard swim and 1-mile run/walk, is still on for 8:08 a.m.