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 traveled nearly 4,000 miles from Hawaii 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, Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World's Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West (William Morrow) witten by David Wolman and Julian Smith, tells the fascinating and little-known true story of the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, whose 1908 adventure upended the conventional history of the American West .
“This inspiring and impeccably crafted story of against-all-odds triumph is one that movie-makers surely will yearn to produce, seeing in Wolman and Smith’s elegantly told Aloha Rodeo a new Chariots of Fire, with Cheyenne’s Frontier Days standing in for the Paris Olympics, the islands of Hawaii for the British Isles, and, at center stage, three brave cowboys, no hats and all cattle. I loved this book, truly.” -Simon Winchester.
Portland writer Julian Smith is the author of Crossing the Heart of Africa, coauthor of Smokejumper, and writes about adventure, history, and science for numerous publications, including Smithsonian, Wired, Outside, National Geographic Traveler, and The Washington Post.