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A new statue in Waimea commemorates Hawaii’s only world steer roping champion, Ikua Purdy. The 1908 event was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Between snow capped Mauna Kea and the Kohala mountains the green hillsides of North Kohala roll along under wispy white clouds, and afternoon rainbows that frequently stream their way from the skies above Waimea. Inside this landscape herds of grazing cattle can be seen meandering their way through sloping pastures filled with cactus and dry underbrush as Hawaiian cowboys called paniolos still ride horseback and work the ranges.

Snow on Mauna Kea seen from Waimea.

Ranching began in this region of the Big Island after King Kamehameha appointed, in 1815, a young seaman named John Parker to hunt and shoot the herds of wild cattle whose population had grown uncontrollably since their introduction to Hawaii in 1793. Parker, who accomplished his mission, managed to domesticate a herd of his own before marrying a Hawaiian chiefess. The marriage helped Parker to acquire the land that would later be used to found his 250,000 acre ranch in 1847. Today's existence of Parker Ranch as one of the largest ranches in the United States gives the outsider an idea of the magnitude of its size.

Today, the town of Kamuela, more often referred to after its district name Waimea, is a town that still surrounds itself with a ranching life-style. The brightly colored Victorian houses and shops, tidy yards filled with flowers and skeleton remains of wagons and wheels gives visitors the opportunity to see yet another sphere of the diversity of cultures that exist in Hawaii.

Riding horseback.

A bicycle tour.

Waimea Town.

Waimea farmer's market/fresh papaya.

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