There are a couple of times a year that I really feel a sense of being a part of something much bigger than myself while living here on Maui, times that I really feel I’m a part of the lifeblood that make up Maui’s diverse culture and history. The Fourth of July weekend is always one of those big moments.
This year, the “Makawao Rodeo” has been re-branded (pun intended) as the “Makawao Stampede.” With over 50 years of paniolo (cowboy) tradition, this year had something different to offer than years past.
The rodeo arena has been completely rebuilt and is brand new along with a new clubhouse and spectator stands. This year Coldwell Banker Island Properties had a vendor booth as one of the event sponsors. Spending the day next to family vendors selling rodeo hats and shirts, hot dogs, and even Molokai hot bread, I got a chance to entertain and interact with many of the attendants as they perused the rodeo grounds. Looking out and seeing mothers and fathers with their children in cowboy hats, boot-cut jeans, and bedazzled shirts and buckles is very endearing.
Our marketing team put together an amazing and fun interactive game we displayed on a large monitor. Contestants came up to our booth and had the chance to guess the prices of current and active listings here on Maui. Prizes were distributed based on how well they answered, and the majority were surprised with the current market trends! From Coldwell Banker Island Properties branded keychains and tote bags to t-shirts and even a grand prize of a Pelican cooler, event-goers had plenty of incentive to learn more about the current Maui housing market.
While it was fun watching the surprise in the contestants’ eyes when the true answers were revealed, it was even more heartwarming to see contestants and homeowners ranging from their early twenties to seniors, most born and raised on Maui, share how proud they are of their homes on different parts of the island. As contestants whooped and hollered at their right answers, and yelled to their buddies from across the field for help with answers, it felt good to be back with the community, having a good time together in the most picturesque countryside of Maui.
After working a couple of shifts in the booth, I was able to enjoy the Bull Bash on the first night of the event. This, in my opinion, is the most exciting part of the whole weekend. Watching the guys climb on the backs of these huge bulls with horns spanning 3 to 4 feet across their heads is humbling. When the gate flies open and that bull starts to kick and jump, I have no idea how a man can hold on with only one hand! They “only” have to hold on for 8 seconds, but some of these guys pull it off and when they do the crowd goes wild.
The bull riding event is a testament to the rodeo community at large — hardworking, persevering, and tough. These attributes are what make me proud to be a part of this community.
Getting back to a long-standing community event on Maui was refreshing and exciting. It reminded me of what makes us at home here in Hawaii —the people with who we share our neighborhoods, the traditions we look forward to together, and the time spent together.
In speaking with Mayor Victorino briefly before the opening ceremony, he shared a few words that I believe sum up the experience very well.
“Being together and seeing all of the family and friends we don’t get a chance to see very often, and haven’t seen for a while, is what makes me feel at home in Hawaii. For years we could always count on seeing each other at events like this and enjoying one another’s company, this is what makes Maui so great!”