Utah paper reports on the victorious Hawaiian cowboys at Wyoming, 1908.


For a dozen years back there has been held in Cheyenne, Wyo., what is called Frontier day, which calls together thousands of people from many states, and involves wild west performances of the most interesting and expert character. There is wild horse riding, steer roping, and a cowboy carnival in general. For the first time in the history of these contests the championship for steer roping has been taken away from the United States. Three Hawaiian cowboys were on hand, and one of them carried off the highest honors. He had met the former American champion, Angus McPhee, at Honolulu in July, and there defeated him. Ikua Purdy, the full-blooded Hawaiian cowboy, promised to come to Cheyenne and make good his defeat of McPhee against all comers. He brought only his saddle and heavy rawhide lariat, which equipment provoked smiles among the local cowboys. Purdy was accompanied by a fellow-Hawaiian, Archie Kaaua, and he too, made a record. There may be a few cowboys among our readers, for whose benefit we extract from the Denver Republican the story of the Hawaiian victory as follows:

At first the Americans laughed at the Hawaiians. The laugh was changed to admiration, however, when Archie Kaaua roped in the fast time of 1:09, defeating the best previous performance of 1:11 by Peter Dickerson of Arizona. Then came the champion, Purdy, and when he had tied his steer securely, the judges announced his time as 1:03 2-5. A mighty cheer greeted him. By this time the Americans had not only the greatest respect for the dark-skinned visitors, but they feared them and predicted they would win. The next day Purdy, Kaaua, Hugh Clark of Cheyenne and Peter Dickerson, the only men qualifying for the finals, roped. Kaaua roped in the slow time of 1:48 1-5, and the Americans took hope. Then Dickerson fell down and got no time. Then Hugh Clark roped in 1:20. This left Champion Purdy with the best time of 1:03 2-5, but he had to rope another steer. Excitement was at fever heat, for Clark had attained the best average for the three days up to this time. Finally Purdy’s steer was turned out of the corral, and with a dash Purdy was after him. Purdy made a perfect throw, “busted” his steer, and, slipping from his horse, ran quickly to the fallen animal and in a twinkling had “hog-tied.” A great shout went up when the time was announced at 56 seconds, and Purdy was declared the winner and retainer of the championship title, Clark was second, Kaaua third and Dickerson fourth.

(Salt Lake Tribune, 9/1/1908, p. 10)


The Salt Lake Tribune, Volume LXXVII, Number 140, Page 10. September 1, 1908.


Mele and more for Ikua Purdy and the lads …in English, 1908.


Purdy, the sturdy, we’ve heard he has won.
For the little old isles of Hawaii,
The world’s roping contest, and what he has done
Is a plum in our promotion pie.

Kaaua took second, while sixth man was Low
In the steer-stringing stunt of the earth,
And it’s up to the cow-catching artists to know
What our lariat laddies are worth.

Three cheers, then, for Purdy, and then just a few
For Archie and Jack, three times three!
The boys of Hawaii who gallantly threw
For the fame of these Gems of the Sea!

A Saturday cable dispatch from Cheyenne, Wyoming, announces that Ikua Purdy of Hawaii won the world’s steer roping championship at the Frontier Day contest on that day and at that place. His time was fifty-six seconds. Archie Kaaua took third place and Jack Low was sixth.

These three men of Hawaii were contesting against the world’s best ropers.

Purdy, here, has a record of 38 3-4 seconds, but conditions differ. In December last, in the Wild West Show [contests at Kapiolani Park Makai Keliilike made 56 1-2 seconds. Angus McPhee holds the present record of 37 2-5 seconds, made at Cheyenne a year ago. Since then he was defeated.

(Hawaiian Star, 8/28/1908, p. 6)


Hawaiian Star, Volume XVI, Number 5117, Page 6. August 24, 1908.

More on the famous paniolo of Waimea, 1908.

The Boys of Waimea are Victorious!

Ikua Purdy is the Champion Roper of the World—Archie Kaaua took 3rd—the American Boys are Weak¹.


Hanohano wale no o Mauna Kea
A ka hau e hoohenoheno nei
Me ka Ua Kipuupuu ame ke anu o Waimea
Me ka Ua Kipuupuu ame ke anu o Waimea

E walea ana paha, e nanea ana paha
I ka hone a ke kai hawanawana
Me ka Ua Kipuupuu ame ke anu o Waimea
Me ka Ua Kipuupuu ame ke anu o Waimea

CHEYENNE, Wyoming, August 22—Ikua Purdy of Hawaii took the name of champion of the world in the roping contest held today for the first time. It took 56 seconds from the release of the steer until it was tied fast. Archie Kaaua [Achie Kaaua] took 3rd, and Jack Low took 6th, and they are all from Hawaii.

The Hawaiian boys took 1st, 3rd, and 6th places in the great contest of Wyoming; this is news which all Hawaiian hearts can be happy about, for the honor garnered by our boys. Many expert ropers showed up, from the forests of the north, the champion of the wire lasso of the rugged plains of Alaska, the experts from the furrowed lands of the far south, the champion rider of the Pampas, the lightning-handed champion of Texas, and so many more; however, all of their knowledge and preparation was overcome by Ikua Purdy. Not one of them was his match, with his swift and skilled lassoing and felling of the steer in short time. 56 seconds was not the fastest time made by Ikua Purdy like the 38 3/4 seconds he achieved at Kapiolani Park some years earlier, however, it should be kept in mind that the conditions there are not the same as ours. McPhee is the one with the fastest time, 37 2/5 seconds gotten at a big contest held in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but from that time to now, he did not make that time again; he was constantly defeated by the Hawaiian boys in contests after that.


Glorious is Mauna Kea
Graced with snow
With the Kipuupuu Rain and the cold of Waimea
With the Kipuupuu Rain and the cold of Waimea

Relaxing at ease
At the soft whispering sea
With the Kipuupuu Rain and the cold of Waimea
With the Kipuupuu Rain and the cold of Waimea

¹I’m not sure if “Lahilahi” here is referring to the American boys being “deflated”…

(Kuokoa Home Rula, 8/28/1908, p. 1)

Lanakila na Keiki o Waimea!

Kuokoa Home Rula, Buke VI, Helu 35, Aoao 1. Augate 28, 1908.