Honoring the Molokai Cowboys

Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

Courtesy Photo

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter

Two of Molokai’s own have been inducted into the Paniolo Hall of Fame.

Clifford Dudoit and Morrency “Porky” Dudoit were honored for a lifetime of paniolo achievement by the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council on Nov. 19.

They joined Jimmy Duvauchelle, who had previously been the sole Molokai representative in the Hall of Fame.

The Paniolo Hall of Fame was established by the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council in 1999 “to recognize yesterday and today’s paniolo statewide who have contributed to keeping Hawaii’s paniolo heritage alive, and honor those who made the paniolo culture legendary.”

“Molokai has a long history of cattle ranching,” said Alan Gottlieb, a representative for the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council.

Candidates chosen were “folks who have made a significant contribution to paniolo culture in the state of Hawaii,” according to Gottlieb.

“These two have certainly have,” said Gottlieb in reference to the newest Molokai inductees.

Morrency “Porky” Duke Kealiikanakaole Dudoit and Clifford Kuhopio Dudoit, Sr. were born in 1947 and 1948 respectively and raised in Mana’e it the Ahupua’a of Kumimi. The descendants of a French consulate member and Hawaiian nobility, Porky and Clifford were “born into the paniolo way of life” and “expected to live, work, and love the Dudoit Ranch,” according to biographies published by the Paniolo Hall of Fame.  

As boys, Porky and Clifford were given an early introduction to horsemanship.  Their duties ranged from “managing herds, mending and erecting fence lines,” to “gathering and preparing wild game for family meals, and helping with the daily operations of the ranch,” said the Hall of Fame.  

The steep cliffs and rough terrain of Mana’e allowed the Dudoit brothers to become exceptional horsemen. They drove and captured wild cattle, pipi ahiu, up the slopes of Molokai’s East end, and were counted among the most skilled of paniolos.

Notably, the Dudoit brothers were part of the historic Dudoit Ranch, the last ranch to raise Hawaiian horses on Molokai.

It was on the Dudoit Ranch that “the brothers learned to break and train these Hawaiian ponies and even used them to compete at rodeo against top ranking quarter-horses,” said the Hall of Fame.  

Since then, Clifford and Porky have worked as a cowboys and managers at multiple ranches across Molokai, including Pu’u O Hoku, Molokai Ranch and Kapualei.

The love and passion for the paniolo way of life has led these men to teach this unique culture to younger generations.

Clifford Dudoit and wife Raina created a rodeo school for Molokai youth – several of which went on to win state and national championship titles, including a world-record time in the Team Roping event.

Clifford himself has impressive rodeo results. Having entered the Champions Circle multiple times on county, state and national levels as well as qualified twice for the National Roping Finals in Las Vegas, the Molokai cowboy is looking forward to competing once again in the winter of 2022.

Likewise, Porky Dudoit’s dedication to the paniolo way endures as he continues to train horses and work as a professional farrier.   

Beyond his exceptional ranching and horsemanship, Porky Dudoit’s skills include saddle making and leather working.

Throughout their lives, both Dudoits have worked to ensure that their heritage lives on.  Handed down from their kupuna, the Dudoits have dedicated themselves to passing on this rich paniolo way of life.

Molokai can be proud of both men, whose lives have been “dedicated to the honor and kuleana of being a true paniolo,” as said by the Hall of Fame.  

The Molokai cowboys are still riding in the wind.


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