By David Corrigan and Stephanie Salazar
[Video by David Corrigan]
KOHALA COAST, Hawaii: Seven cowboys from the Big Island of Hawaii were formally inducted into the Paniolo Hall of Fame on Saturday, during this special ceremony on Saturday at the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council Annual Convention at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.
There have been 116 paniolo and ranching industry honorees since the hall of fame was created 12 years ago.
The inductees are chosen by a nomination process. The Hall of Fame consists of photo portraits, short biographies and oral history interviews, and the historic material is on display at various locations around the state.
We will feature the island’s inductees in our regional news updates… starting with Hamakua.
Donnie DeSilva was born and raised in the Hāmākua District on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
DeSilva began working for Parker Ranch in after graduating high school in 1958, where he made significant contributions in the areas of horse identification, string accountability, equine health, breeding, nutrition and reproduction.
The Hall of Fame says he was “A good and fair leader for the young roughnecks of the breaking pen, he taught many young men who have since gone on to become leaders in the ranching industry.”
The one time foreman of the famed “Roughriders” of Parker Ranch was on hand to accept the honor on Saturday.
Donnie resides in Hāmākua with his wife Paula, and enjoys spending time with his three children and eight grandchildren. He is a founding director of the Paniolo Preservation Society formed in 1998, and continues his saddle making.
Naluahine Kaopu, the legendary saddle bronc champion – named the Mohopuni O Hawaii Nei after his ride leapt over the fence and down King Street before being brought under control in Thomas Square during a competition on Oahu – was honored as a Paniolo Hall of Fame inductee on Saturday.
Kaopu’s recognition was also the most unique… as the Roy Allen Wall described the man he nominated for the honor.
Born at Kahalu’u, North Kona, Kaopua was not just the man to beat in saddle bronc contests… Naluahine was Allen wall’s contact in Kona to organize a crew to trail cattle across Ka’u to the slaughterhouse at Shipman’s Meat Market in Keaau.
Later, Kaopua would work exclusively for Thomas White and Wall Ranch.
The Hall of Fame historians say Naluahine was descended from bird catchers and was knowledgeable of old trails, waterholes and ahupua’a boundaries.
Recently at the Kona Historical Society there has cropped up new interest in Naluahine Kaopua for his cultural contributions in the last half of his life. Writings of present day Hawaiian scholars describe Naluahine as a sailor, a fisherman or a Kahuna lapa’au, or medicine man.
Hall of fame officials say he may have been all of those things at one time or another but he was first and foremost a paniolo. He continued riding horses until in his eighties, and lived to the age of 104.
In South Kona, paniolo Clarence Medeiros, Sr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, joining his fellow cowboys at this ceremony at the Hapuna Beach Prince hotel.
According ot the Hawaii Cattleman’s Association, Medeiros started working at Magoon’s Ranch in South Kona in 1948.
From the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, Clarence worked on contract to catch wild cattle on the slopes of Mauna Loa with the C.Q. Yee Hop Ranch in South Kona.
Medeiros is one of the founders of the Kona Ka’u Roping Club.
From the 1960’s to the present, Mr. Medeiros has been the owner and operator of CM Ranch in Waimea and South Kona. The ranch is 350 acres and Clarence runs about 80 head of cattle.
There to help with the induction… Charlie Onaka of South Kona’s Onaka Ranch.
Alfred Hartwell Carter, whom passed away in 1985, became the manager of Parker Ranch in 1937, where he directed the effort to move toward polled cattle and a uniform purebred Hereford herd.
Hall of Fame historians say that after the close of World War II, Hartwell was instrumental in getting further military operations relocated from the area of Waimea to Pōhakuloa. He also helped return more than 20,000 acres of land to the Hawaiian Homes Commission for homesteading and provided foundation stock for a pastoral program on these lands.
Inductee Gary J. Rapozo started his career with Parker Ranch as a cowboy in 1972, and stayed for thirty years until 2002, working in various sections of the ranch and doing a multitude of jobs. He ended up as the Superintendent of Livestock Marketing.
While working the Paauhau section, Rapozo, an expert in artificial insemination and pregnancy testing, achieved a 62% conception rate, and he wrote a paper outlining his methodology and procedures at the request of the University of Hawaii.
Joining Rapozo to accept his honor, Harry “Pono” von Holt… Pono was raised at Kahua Ranch in Kohala, continuing his family’s tradition as a fourth generation kama’āina rancher.
Now the owner and manager of Ponoholo Ranch, Pono has served as President of the Hawai`i Cattlemen’s Association, the State Hawai`i Cattlemen’s Council, and chairman of the cow/calf council for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Waimea may also recognise Pono as a Board member and Vice-President of the North Hawai`i Community Hospital, and board member for the Hawai`i Preparatory Academy.
Finally, one of the best known names in Waimea… Richard Kaleioku Palmer Smart, born to Thelma Parker and Henry Smart in 1913, Richard Smart was the 6th generation of parker Family Members to manage the historic Parker Ranch.
Smart made significant contributions by restructuring the breeding program, expanding irrigation facilities and experimenting with feed supplements. He introduced the ranch to the tourism business by building the Parker Ranch Visitor Center and Museum and opened the grand Kahilu Theatre. Smart sold or leased unprofitable coastal ranch lands for resorts.
Smart passed away in 1992. Today, the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust supports the causes Richard held most dear in perpetuity.
From the Hawaii Cattlemen:
Hall of Fame Inductees
A. Hartwell Carter
1896 – 1985
Parker Ranch, Hawai`i
Donald G. DeSilva
Parker Ranch, Hawai`i
Dee B. Gibson
1919 – 1991
Koko Head Dairy, Oahu;
Wailua Ranch, Kauai; Saddle City, Oahu
Peter Kama Sr.
Kahua Ranch, Oahu
1857 – 1961
Thomas White Ranch, Wall Ranch, Hawai`i
Clarence Medeiros Sr.
Magoon Ranch, CM Ranch, Hawai`i
Gary J. Rapozo
Parker Ranch, Hawai`i
Richard K.P. Smart
Parker Ranch, Hawai`i
Harry “Pono” von Holt
Ponoholo Ranch, Hawai`i
Louis von Tempsky
Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui
Haleakala Ranch, Maui