Celebrating 25 Years!

In 1998, a hui of like-minded folks wrangled up a plan based on a bold idea: to honor the history and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i’s paniolo. Founding President Dr. Billy Bergin along with Leslie Agorastos, Peter Baldwin, Patricia C. Bergin, Carl Carlson, Donn Carswell, Patti Cook, Donald G. DeSilva, Jimmy Duvauchelle, Pat Fitzgerald, Phyllis Fox, Robert J.K. Garcia, Rick Habein, Sonny Keakealani, Edgy Lee, John Morgan, Alex Penovaroff, Freddy Rice, and Bill White formed a new 501(3)(c) nonprofit, the Paniolo Preservation Society.

As we ride proudly into our 26th year, let’s look back at our first quarter-century of service, celebrating, preserving, and perpetuating Hawai‘i’s paniolo heritage.


  • Right out of the gate, PPS got to work, managing to secure the “Year of the Hawaiian Cowboy” Proclamation by the State of Hawaiʻi. The proclamation – along with the formation of the Paniolo Preservation Society – earned our paniolo legacy extensive local and national publicity.
  • PPS worked with the arts and education communities to provide historical expertise to dozens of filmmakers, authors, journalists, recording artists, music producers, museums, and researchers.
  • One of the most notable films PPS assisted was Edgy Lee’s “Paniolo O Hawaiʻi, Cowboys of the Far West.” Eventually acquired by National Geographic, it’s been translated into 20+ languages and shown all over the world. Complimenting the film was a collection of treasured paniolo songs recorded by the late Uncle Kindy Sproat and friends. Jim Ed Norman assisted producing these recordings, and shared the music with his company’s extensive music network in Nashville.


  • Successfully lobbied to have revered Hawaiian paniolo Ikua Purdy inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame for having won the 1908 world championship roping in Wyoming.
  • The Paniolo Hall of Fame was established by Alan Gottlieb with Oʻahu Cattlemen’s Association, with the permanent portrait exhibit and other display materials stored on Oʻahu. The exhibit eventually came to PPS when we leased historic Pukalani Stables from Parker Ranch and established the museum. The Paniolo Hall of Fame exhibit is periodically shared at Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Conventions.
  • Commissioned a larger-than-life bronze monument depicting iconic Ikua Purdy roping a bull by nationally renowned sculptor Fred Fellows as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi. The statue not only honors a great cowboy but helps perpetuate awareness of the masterful riding and roping expertise of our Hawai‘i cowboys as well as all aspects of our paniolo heritage.


  • Received the Ikua Purdy Statue from the foundry and had it installed near the Waimea post office. It was relocated to the front of Parker Ranch Center in 2006. This monumental installation includes a bronze tribute to the paniolo of Hawai‘i and a “lei” of bronze plaques celebrating many of the legendary ranches and paniolo families of the Hawaiian Islands.


  • Sponsored The Great Waiomina Centennial Celebration in partnership with dozens of schools, ranches, non-profits, musicians, singers, dancers, cultural practitioners, and museums as well as the Richard Smart Fund, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, State Legislature and County of Hawaiʻi. Created an extensive month-long Waiomina Centennial Celebration calendar of events in Hawai‘i and Wyoming. This was all organized by Dr. Billy Bergin.
  • Helped establish a sister city relationship between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Hawai‘i County, which inspired an exceptional paniolo exhibit at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.
  • Produced a spectacular re-creation of the Old Hawai‘i On Horseback pageant—originated in 1964 by revered Waimea rancher and philanthropist Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske. The historical pageant – featuring elaborate costumes, music, singing and storytelling – shared the history of our paniolo legacy entirely on horseback.
  • Commissioned the Waiomina Boot, a painted sculpture at Waimea Center. The fiberglass boot was inspired by the 80+ boots created by the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation and installed around Cheyenne for the 2008 festivities in Wyoming. It is a very visible (often photographed) reminder of Waimea’s ranching heritage.


  • Partnered with Kahilu Theatre and Parker Ranch to produce the first “Paniolo Artisans Showcase” spotlighting 20 renowned saddle-makers, and many other skilled paniolo artists and artisans. Worked with all Waimea schools to develop curriculum and hands-on activities around the showcase to introduce and share paniolo history, values, customs, and practices with the next generations.


  • Secured a long-term lease of Pukalani Stables from Parker Ranch and subsequently led a major historically accurate restoration of the 100-year-old structure with strong community support to sustain and grow the site as a valuable cultural resource. Pukalani Stables houses a living history museum and frequently hosts events to further perpetuate paniolo traditions while also generating revenue to sustain PPS’ activities and facilities’ maintenance. The stables were originally used to raise hundreds of horses for the U.S. Calvary during WW1, and later housed many famous stallions for breeding purposes, before becoming. Then it became the nursery for orphaned calves, and worked in conjunction with the famous Parker Ranch “breaking pens” next door.
  • Co-sponsored a three-day immersion in paniolo heritage and traditions for several nationally recognized members of Professional Bull Riders (PBR). The schedule included a free clinic for the Parker Ranch Round-Up Scholarship Club. The event was filmed and televised nationally, telling our paniolo story to millions of viewers.


  • Secured an invitation for John Palmer Parker, founder of Parker Ranch, to be entered into the prestigious National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s “Hall of Great Westerners” in Oklahoma City. This national recognition helps further amplify Hawai‘i’s paniolo history.


  • Helped the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City create the first Paniolo Exhibit outside of Hawai‘i. This museum is famous for its ranching history. It has a unique gallery depicting all the different cowboy legacies across the West including their unique tack and paraphernalia. Two directors at the museum from Hawai‘i, Dr. Billy Bergin and Bill White, suggested that the Hawaiian Cowboy (paniolo) warranted recognition and they were invited to create a complete paniolo display next to the vaquero display (very appropriate). George Purdy, grandson of legendary paniolo Ikua Purdy, was the model for the mannequin dressed in 19th century garb. Bill White and Dr. Bergin also contributed saddles, skin ropes (kaula iki), spurs and an old Kamaka ʻukulele. Approaching the display activates a vintage video of paniolo pulling cattle into the ocean and swimming them to boats offshore for transport to Honolulu. This display put Hawai‘i’s paniolo heritage and Paniolo Preservation Society on the international map—a great accomplishment for Hawai‘i.
  • Co-founded the Waimea Education Hui with representatives from Waimea Middle School, Kanu o ka ʻĀina, Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and Parker School to develop curriculum on ranching and paniolo culture and introducing the next generation of leaders to thoughtful land care, animal care and paʻahana (hard, industrious work).


  • Produced Old Hawai‘i On Horseback at Waiki‘i after an 11-year absence. It was themed “Nā Wāhine Holo Lio,” and honored fourth generation rancher Barbara Kamilipua Nobriga. Concurrently established a Nā Wāhine Holo Lio exhibit at Pukalani Stables displaying a life-sized pāʻū rider and horse to honor the contribution of women to Hawai‘i’s ranching heritage. The exhibit includes many historic and classic photos of pāʻū riders in period dress thru the ages. PPS founding board member and former PPS President Patricia Bergin, who is a superb horsewoman and pāʻū rider, orchestrated this exhibit in partnership with many of the excellent pāʻū riders and paniolo families of Hawai‘i.


  • Parker Ranch generously proposed donating historic Pukalani Stables to PPS.
  • PPS secured statewide recognition of our heritage preservation impact with a Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation Preservation Award for PPS Founding Director and former President Patricia Bergin.
  • Contracted Patrick Ching, Tom Mehau, and friends of PPS to completely restore the Waiomina Boot.
  • Paniolo Masquerade Ball – raised funds for the restoration of the historic Parker Ranch Blacksmith Shop adjacent to Pukalani Stables.


  • Revived “Old Hawai‘i On Horseback” at Waiki‘i after a 4-year pandemic pause. This stunning pageant featuring over 100 elegantly costumed riders on horseback once again recounted the remarkable story and achievements of our paniolo families for both the next generations and thousands around the world. Event organizers Patricia Bergin, Joan “Fluffy” Anderson, and Marci Yardley collaborated with dozens of ranches, pāʻū experts, lei makers, singers and musicians to stage this momentous event.


  • Paniolo Preservation Society and its loyal members and friends raise their hats to the next century!