Cowboy's Way Out West

Updated on March 1, 2018
Scott Gese profile image

Born East of the Dakota's, raised in the American West. I'm a writer of books, blog posts, magazine articles and short stories.

Hawaiian Paniolo

Another Cub Reporter story by Scott Gese

It was early. I had just arrived at the office and was about to pour myself a fresh cup of coffee when my boss stepped out of his office.

“Scott, I've got an assignment for you. I need you to talk with a man named Harold Kalani. He's a local rancher. Lives a few miles west of town. Here's the address.”

He handed me a small slip of paper and headed back to his office.

“I'm on it, boss,” I called out as he closed the door behind him.

I barely had time to turn my attention back to my coffee when the door opened back up and he stuck his head out. “Almost forgot to tell you, It has something to do with cattle...Imagine that,” he remarked with a chuckle as he ducked back into his office.

That didn't tell me much, I thought.

I guess I would find out the details once I got there.

~~~~~~

I always like the assignments that take me out of the city. The fresh air and openness of the countryside clears my head and relaxes me. It's a beautiful Summer day and I find myself wondering what's on the mind of Mr. Kalani and how this assignment will eventually turn out.

When I arrive at the ranch I'm greeted by a middle aged man, a rancher complete with boots and hat. He has a dark complexion, strong handshake and judicious eyes that size me up rather quickly.

I introduced myself. “I'm Scott from The Daily News, you must be Harold.”

“Not wearing boots,” he comments rather bluntly.

“I'm a city boy,” I counter.

He smiles. “We'll stay close. Do you ride?”

“Horses? No sir, I don't.”

“Too bad. Guess we'll stick to the porch then.”

As we step up onto the porch I ask what's on his mind as my boss didn't give me much to go on.

Harold chuckles. “That's because I didn't give him much to go on. Just told him I needed to talk with someone regarding a recent article I read in your paper. Just felt I needed to set the record straight concerning a few facts I feel were left out. Purely unintentional I'm sure.”

We take a seat in comfortable wood Adirondack chairs. A pitcher of cold lemonade sits on the small table between us. He pours us each a tall glass. Takes a drink and proceeds to ask me a question.

“When I mention cowboys and cattle, what part of the country comes to mind?”

“Oh...Texas or maybe Kansas,” I reply.

“That's cattle country for sure, and has been for well over 150 years,” he counters. “But did you know there's a state even further west that's been the home to cattle ranching and cowboys for even longer than that?”

“Are you talking about California? I question.

Harold smiles. “Nope. What's further west than California?”

I have to think about it. “Is this a trick question?” I ask.

“Nope, I'm sure you know your geography. Think about it.”

“I do know my geography. Hawaii is further west, but what does Hawaii have to do with cowboys and cattle?” Harold has me a little confused at this point.

“This is exactly why I asked your paper to send someone out here. The article I read in The Daily News concerning the history of the cattle industry completely missed the boat when it comes to Hawaii.”

I suddenly have the feeling I'm about to get a history lesson.

Harold continued. “I’m not a crazy man, I'm serious. There are both cowboys and cattle ranches in Hawaii. In fact cowboys and cattle ranching have been at home in Hawaii for over 175 years. Long before the white man gave a whole lot of thought about venturing west of the Mississippi. My last name is Kalani. I'm Hawaiian. My not too-distant relatives ran cattle on the big island.”

“When I think of Hawaii I think of grass skirts and palm trees, not cattle,” I remarked.

“Exactly! I believe your paper has that same mindset. Like I said, it missed the boat and I think it's important to set the record straight.”

My gut was right. This wasn't going to be an interview. Seems a history lesson was about to commence. I took a long drink of my lemonade and settled in. Harold removed his hat and set it aside. The lesson was now in session.

Harold continued. “Did you know there have been longhorn cattle in Hawaii since 1793? They were a gift from England to the King of Hawaii. The King was so impressed with the longhorns he placed them under 'sacred' protection and they were allowed to roam and breed freely for many years. But, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

“Within twenty years the cattle had grown in number to the point where they had become unmanageable. It was then that the sacred protection they had enjoyed for so long was lifted and life for the Hawaiian cow was changed forever. Some of the cattle were now being hunted for sport and others were rounded up into herds.

“The problem was, Once all these longhorns were rounded up, Hawaiians really didn’t know what to do with them. They had no experience in the cattle ranching business. Things were beginning to get out of hand, so in 1832 the King of Hawaii sent an ambassador to Mexico for some much needed help in managing this new herd.

“The ambassador returned with three Spanish-Mexican “Vaqueros.” The native Hawaiians trained by these South of the border cowboys soon became known as “Paniolos”. That means 'Hawaiian cowboys'.

“Those Vaqueros were so skilled at their craft, and the King was so impressed with their abilities, he requested more Vaqueros be brought to Hawaii to teach more Hawaiians these new skills.

“The Vaqueros not only taught the Hawaiians how to handle cattle, they also taught them other crafts such as how to work with leather and metal. The Hawaiians became skilled in making saddles, lariats and bullwhips as well as bits and spurs.

“Not only did the Paniolos take to these new and valuable skills, they also took on the colorful dress of the Vaqueros. In fact they do so to this very day.

“By the 1830’s cattle ranching had become a very successful and intricate part of the Hawaiian economy. Cattle hides and beef were exported to an international market.”

Harold stopped, took several gulps of his drink and set his glass back on the table. “Did you know Hawaiian cattle were shipped to the mainland during the California gold rush?”

“I had no clue,” I sheepishly replied.

“I thought not,” countered Harold.

He then commented rather sharply. “You know, I find it rather interesting that Hawaii, having such a rich heritage in the cattle industry, and the “Paniolos” having excelled at the necessary skills needed to manage those cattle, have never once received more than a passing mention in history books or stories concerning the cattle industry in America. I'm not really bitter about it, I just think it's important to set the record straight.”

“I read the article your talking about, Harold, and I have to agree, there was no mention of the Hawaiian connection and now that I know the history, I can see where there really should have been. I have a good idea how I'm going to write this up. I'll do what I can to make it right.”

I finished up my notes, then Harald Kalani and I talked for a while longer before we said our good-by's.

The afternoon was getting late as I slowly drove back to town.


I love this type of assignment, I thought to myself. I hope I get more of them.

© 2018 Scott Gese

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      I actually knew about the Hawaiian cowboys and beef industry. Disney made a movie about it back in the 60s, with James Garner in it. I loved that movie,it was hilarious. Now I am going to have to go look it up and find out what it was called and watch it again to see if it is still funny to a 60 year old. Our sense of humor definitely changes.

    • Scott Gese profile image
      Author

      Scott Gese 2 months ago from Brownsville, Oregon

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney

      An assignment in Hawaii. I'll take that as well.

      Thank you for the comment.

      (note: I've hit the approval button on your comment but nothing seems to be happening. I'll keep trying.)

    • Casey White profile image

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 2 months ago from United States

      I can only add this: "Who knew?" You just don't picture cowboys on ranches in Hawaii. I used to be a reporter and I would also have loved this assignment. - DM

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)