by Noriko S.
The Hawaiian paniolo are the Pacific Island-based practitioners of the cowboy tradition. Influenced by Spanish-Mexican vaqueros from California, they were sent to the Big Island by the king of Spain at the request of King Kamehameha III. The Hawaiian style of cattle wrangling and horsemanship is based on Spanish-Mexican vaquero techniques and methods. Paniolo craftsman, such as Masa Kawamoto, continue to nurture the Hawaiian paniolo traditions and creations, such as the Hawaiian Tree Saddle with its unique design and features.
Quotations from Masa K.:
“I only went to 10th grade and started working at the ranch.”
“My father used to slaughter cattle and worked on the ranch. Ranch job. That was the duty. He was 13.”
Explaining the difference between Western and Hawaiian saddle:
“The tree. Yeah. The tree. The back. Your seat. You get a better kind of curve. Rider good for seat…. See this is the regular and this good American saddle, but it is flat, eh?”
“You see the Hawaiian saddle has a big back in the back curve. It helps.”
Image Caption: “Parker ranch cowboy, Masa Kawamoto, won the championship working horse honors atop his horse Icing, Oahu, Hawaii, 1962.”
City: North Kohala
Time Period: 1960s