Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the
World's Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History
of the American West
One of NPR’s 100 Best Books of the Year
2020 Oregon Book Award Winner
In August 1908, three unknown riders arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, their hats adorned with wildflowers, to compete in the world’s greatest rodeo. Steer-roping virtuoso Ikua Purdy and his cousins Jack Low and Archie Ka’au’a had traveled 3,000 miles from Hawaii, of all places, to test themselves against the toughest riders in the West.
Dismissed by whites, who considered themselves the only true cowboys, the native Hawaiians would astonish the country, returning home champions—and American legends. An unforgettable human drama set against the rough-knuckled frontier, Aloha Rodeo unspools the fascinating and little-known true story of the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, whose 1908 adventure upended the conventional history of the American West.