Ex­plore a Work­ing Cat­tle Ranch

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - COWBOY COUNTRY -

Parker Ranch rolls over 150,000 acres of scenic up­coun­try ter­rain. It is the home of the first Hawai­ian pan­iolo (cow­boys), a race­track where record-set­ting thor­ough­breds were trained and a still-func­tion­ing cat­tle ranch. Its col­or­ful his­tory can be traced to 1809, when Mas­sachusetts sailor John Palmer Parker landed in Hawai‘i, be­friended King Kame­hameha I and even­tu­ally mar­ried the daugh­ter of a high-rank­ing Hawai­ian chief. Af­ter do­mes­ti­cat­ing herds of wild cat­tle on Mauna Kea, Parker pur­chased lands that even­tu­ally be­came Parker Ranch. To­day, the ranch’s char­i­ta­ble trust helps sup­port schools and hos­pi­tals in Waimea.

In the early 1900s, Eben “Rawhide Ben” Parker Low, a fa­mous Waimea cow­boy, proved the pan­iolo’s worth when he com­peted in the Fron­tier Days cel­e­bra­tion in Cheyenne, Wyo. Low’s cousin, Ikua Purdy, took first place; his half-brother, Archie Ka‘au‘a, took third; and his brother, Jack Low, took sixth.

Ex­plore the ranch for your­self on horse­back tours, through an ATV ride or with guided treks.

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