Honoka‘a Western Week Rides Into Town May 17

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Harkening back to rowdier times, Honoka‘a Western Week will ride into town May 17 – 25.

The annual family-friendly festival celebrates century-old paniolo heritage with rodeo sports, music, food, and education for locals and visitors alike.

Starting May 17, the public is invited to “cowboy up” with a Paniolo Parade in Honoka‘a town starting at 3 p.m. along Mamane Street.  The week that follows will be roping in crowds for chili cook-offs, western film features at the Honoka‘a People’s Theater, and more.

Mamane Street will close on Friday, May 22 for a block party featuring country music, a sizzling steak fry fundraiser, and a lineup of fun contests and events.  Participants can dress up in their best rodeo-attire and gritty attitude for the “Saloon Girl” and “Cowboys Got talent” personality and talent contests.  Vendors interested in booth space at the block party may e-mail Sue Dela Cruz.


During the weekend, Honoka’as newly-renovated arena will host the 59th Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo.  Saturday begins with an elimination round, followed by cowboys, keiki and wahine being put to the test on Sunday and Monday for buckles, saddles, and prize money.  The rodeo will feature Hawai’i’s unique Po‘o Wai‘u, as well as bull riding, calf roping, bareback and saddle bronco events, sheep riding for kids, and more.

The annual Rodeo event has awarded thousands in scholarship for high school seniors islandwide since its inception 59 years ago.

Schedule of Events:

  • May 15: Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests.
    For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777.
  • May 17-25: Celebrate Western Week with Honokaʻa Business
    Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style and visit
    Honoka‘a town merchants, visit the “Na Paniolo O Hāmākua”
    exhibit at NHERC, plus join in different paniolo-themed activities every
  • Sunday, May 17: The Paniolo Parade begins at 3 p.m., with vendors at
    the ʻŌhiʻa Lanai (Andrade Building) to share their wares from 12-6 p.m.
  • Monday, May 18: Chili Cook-Off hosted by The Landing from 6 – 8 p.m.  For
    information, call Evelyn Offenbaker, 430-3593.
  • Tuesday, May 19: Art Event, 3:30 p.m. Make-your-own Stick Horse for the
    Races, at Hamakua Youth Center (HYC). Limited to the first 30 applicants
    to turn in registration forms at HYC.
  • Wednesday, May 20: Western movies at the Peoples Theater. Call (808) 896-4845 for
  • Thursday, May 21: 5-7 p.m. Talk Story and enjoy the “Na Paniolo O
    Hāmākua” exhibit at North Hawaii Education and Research Center.
  • Friday, May 2: 5-10 p.m. Block Party, Steak Fry, Saloon Girl and
    Cowboys Got Talent Contests, and Dancing in the Street.
  • Saturday, May 23: 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo
    “Saturday Slack.”  Tickets $7 in advance $8 at the gate.
  • Sunday and Monday, May 24-25:  12 p.m. to Pau, Hawai‘i Saddle Club
    Scholarship Rodeo. Tickets $7 in advance $8 at the gate.


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