Paniolo Preservation Society event raises more than $50,000
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On Saturday, Oct. 26, more than 180 cowboys, ranchers, filmmakers, guests, Paniolo Preservation Society volunteers and supporters joined together for the first Paniolo Heritage Dinner and Auction at Parker Ranch’s historic Pukalani Stables in Waimea, now home to the Paniolo Heritage Center Museum and Saddle Shop.
With the theme, “Save a Cowboy,” the sellout event was in support of the Paniolo Preservation Society and featured a cowboy beefsteak dinner with all the fixin’s, followed by a unique auction of items picked just for the evening. Willie Joe Camara and Damien De Mello of Patio Productions provided live, island-style cowboy music that had guests two-stepping the night away.
Between ticket sales and the live auction, the event raised more than $50,000 dollars for the PPS, which plans to use the funds to further their mission to preserve, promote and protect Hawaii’s proud ranching legacy, and to start a new phase of expansion for the Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables.
The evenings auction items included a hand tooled Hawaiian saddle by master craftsman, Pete Gorrell with a koa saddle stand by Phil “Ski” Kwiatkowski, two limited edition prints by Montano cowboy artist, Charles Russell, a handmade koa rocking chair by Mike Riley, two exquisite feather hat lei by Lahapa “Hoppy” Whitehead, paintings by Martha Greenwell, Pi’ilani Cook and Jann Marack, a fine art photograph by Ethan Tweedie, cowboy themed bronze sculptures by Fred and Deborah Fellows, a handmade bit by Wes Hammond, and an immaculately woven pencil bosal by Bill Ferreira.
Auctioneer Richard Kaniho kept the bidding fast and furious with the standout of the evening going to Martha Greenwell’s painting, “Going Makai,” which brought in an $8,000 donation.
The group’s honored guest was Edgy Lee, PPS founding member and filmmaker, whose film, “Paniolo O Hawaii — Cowboys of the Far West,” was a watershed moment in bringing the world’s attention to the paniolo tradition of Hawaii and was the inspiration for the founding of the Paniolo Preservation Society.
Senator Malama Solomon and former PPS President Billy Bergin presented Lee with a proclamation from the Hawaii State Senate and an award from PPS members expressing their deep gratitude and aloha for Lee’s efforts in honoring the traditions of Hawaii and specifically for her vision and heart in sharing with the world the real stories of Hawaii, her mastery of film making and her commitment to telling the paniolo story with extraordinary accuracy.
Thanks in part to Edgy Lee’s film, PPS has relentlessly pursued other projects including developing a sister-city relationship with Cheyenne, Wyo., and promoting the highly publicized 2008 celebration of the centennial of Hawaiian paniolo Ikua Purdy’s amazing rodeo victory at Waiomina in 1908, which demonstrated to the world that the Hawaiian cowboy was second to none. The momentum of the film and heightened respect for the paniolo heritage helped PPS raise funds to commission one of America’s most famous cowboy artists, Fred Fellows, to create the bronze statue of Ikua Purdy on horseback that graces the center of Waimea town.
PPS also succeeded in getting Parker Ranch founder John Palmer Parker inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and quite recently, PPS worked with this museum to establish a permanent paniolo exhibit.
To learn more about the Paniolo Preservation Society, to become a member or to make a donation, visit the PPS website at www.paniolopreservation.org or drop by Pukalani Stables from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays to visit the museum and saddle shop. Every Wednesday, the center hosts the Waimea Midweek Farmer’s Market. You can reach the PPS at 854-1541 or email Paniolo@paniolopreservation.org.