Download Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World's Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West Audiobook

Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the Worlds Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West Audiobook, by David Wolman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Wolman, Julian Smith Narrator: Kaleo Griffith Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2019 ISBN: 9780062836038
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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 travelled 4,200 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, David Wolman and Julian Smith’s 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.

What few understood when the three paniolo rode into Cheyenne is that the Hawaiians were no underdogs. They were the product of a deeply engrained cattle culture that was twice as old as that of the Great Plains, for Hawaiians had been chasing cattle over the islands’ rugged volcanic slopes and through thick tropical forests since the late 1700s.

Tracing the life story of Purdy and his cousins, Wolman and Smith delve into the dual histories of ranching and cowboys in the islands, and the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Cheyenne, “Holy City of the Cow.” At the turn of the twentieth century, larger-than-life personalities like “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Theodore Roosevelt capitalized on a national obsession with the Wild West and helped transform Cheyenne’s annual Frontier Days celebration into an unparalleled rodeo spectacle, the “Daddy of ‘em All.”

The hopes of all Hawaii rode on the three riders’ shoulders during those dusty days in August 1908. The U.S. had forcibly annexed the islands just a decade earlier. The young Hawaiians brought the pride of a people struggling to preserve their cultural identity and anxious about their future under the rule of overlords an ocean away. In Cheyenne, they didn’t just astound the locals; they also overturned simplistic thinking about cattle country, the binary narrative of “cowboys versus Indians,” and the very concept of the Wild West. Blending sport and history, while exploring questions of identity, imperialism, and race, Aloha Rodeo spotlights an overlooked and riveting chapter in the saga of the American West.

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About the Author

David Wolman is a contributing editor at Wired. He has written for such publications as OutsideMother JonesNewsweekDiscoverForbes, and Salon, and his work appeared in Best American Science Writing 2009. A graduate of Stanford University’s journalism program, he now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he received a 2011 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. He is the author of A Left-Hand Turn around the World and Righting the Mother Tongue.

About the Narrator

Kaleo Griffith is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator and classically trained actor. He graduated cum laude from Franklin Pierce University with a BA in theater, holds an MFA in acting from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has appeared in such television series as Law & Order and Reggie’s Family & Friends, among others.