51st annual Kona Stampede Rodeo held in newly renovated Honaunau Arena
CAPTAIN COOK — The 51st annual Kona Stampede Rodeo took place over the weekend at the newly renovated Honaunau Rodeo Arena, a 6-acre property located on Honaunau Road near Ke Ala O Keawe Road. About 250 paniolo competed in the two-day event in various events including Po’o Wai U, double mugging, tie down roping, ribbon mugging, bull riding and more.
The rodeo drew a packed, standing room only crowd, which is saying something since the arena is now home to a new, larger covered grandstand, as well as a community center and beefed up bathrooms, thanks to $5.1 million worth of renovations backed by the County of Hawaii.
“We redid the whole area,” said Kona Roping Club secretary Laurie DeCasa. “We did lose a little bit of parking, but we are making it work and the turnout is really good.”
For Kealakekua resident and wahine paniolo Katie Andrade, the pull to return home from college and compete at the newly renovated area was too much to ignore. The junior at Orange County College competed in nearly every event at the Honaunau rodeo.
“This is the rodeo closest to home and I came back from college just for it,” Andrade said. “My favorite event is the team roping because it offers the most money and is the most fun. I also love getting down and dirty in the mugging event.”
Andrade competed in the kane-wahine ribbon mugging event with Waimea resident Ty Kauai on Sunday and he has been competing in the rodeo since he was a little kid. Kauai also competed in bull riding, team roping, calf roping and double mugging. He said his favorite events are the team themed ones because they are more challenging.
The team roping is the most popular event at the Kona Stampede Rodeo. This year, 240 teams competed in the event according to DeCasa.
“We continue to grow, and have gotten bigger and bigger over the last 51 years,” DeCasa said.
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