Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slice of Life Day 26: Hawaiian Cowboy--Paniolo

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After getting up at 2:00 a.m., riding to the top of Haleakala, seeing and sunrise, taking a bike ride down the volcano, and having a photo shoot with bikes, it was time to load the bikes back up and head down the mountain.  The area we were now in is called Upcountry Maui. In the distance, we could see a small town. This was Makawao, which was once named one of the top 25 arts destinations in the U.S.
As we were waiting for the guides to load all the bikes back into the trailer behind the van, we checked out the area. We were now on the mid-slopes of Haleakala. This Upcountry is famous for the Hawaiian cowboys or paniola.  We did not visit Makawao, but we did get to see a paniola.
The history of this area is interesting. In the 1790s, an explorer, Capt. George Vancouver, gave a handful of longhorn cattle to King Kamehameha I. The king put an order of protection on the animals. They could not be slaughtered. The cattle took surprisingly well to the land and they multiplied. By the 1820s, they were tearing through towns and devouring crops.
In 1832, Kamehameha III brought in horsemen of Spanish descent from Mexico. They taught the Hawaiians skills of their trade. That lifestyle and the skills are still seen on Maui's half-dozen or so surviving ranches.
Ranching became Maui's third largest industry after sugar and pineapples. Makawao would be a great place to visit. In July, they have Hawaii's largest paniolo competition at their rodeo. It would be fun also to just meandering through the shops, boutiques and art galleries. With the arts community and the paniolo heritage, it would make a unique stop as you visit Maui.

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