Skip to content
National Rodeo Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1999
Ikua Purdy

Ikua Purdy



Steer Roper
Calf Roper

One of the most illustrious paniolos in history, Ikua Purdy was born in 1873 at Waimea, Hawaii. He was the great-grandson of John Palmer Parker, founder of the famed Parker Ranch, and Kipikane, granddaughter of King Kamehameha The Great. He learned to ride and rope on the Parker Ranch and competed in roping events on the Big Island, Oahu, and Maui.

By the time he was 20, Ikua Purdy was a master of the rope. In 1903, he and his paniolo friends participated in the first publicized cowboy competition recorded in Honolulu. Five years later, Purdy and other paniolos competed in the 1908 Frontier Days Rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They were an instant curiosity with their odd slouched hats and colorful hat bands, peculiar saddles, and bright clothes–an exotic blend of Hawaiian and vaquero influence and tradition. Purdy set a record by roping his steer in 56 seconds flat.

Ikua Purdy never returned to Wyoming, but his feat elevated the status of the Hawaiian cowboy to a new level. He worked another 30 years mostly as foreman on Maui’s Ulupalakua Ranch. Purdy died July 4, 1945. He rode his way into legend and song. He was the inspiration for three of the best-known paniolo songs: Hawaiian Rough Riders, Pu’u Huluhulu and Waiomina, which refers to Purdy and Archie Ka’au’a as rascals of the lariat.

More to Explore

Stay Connected

Sign up for our e-newsletter