Young Paniolo on to Nationals

Photo courtesy of Nadine Akiona

Cousins Bailey Sproat and Buzzy Sproat-Augustiro, both Molokai High School juniors, qualified last weekend for the National High School Rodeo Finals after a strong performance at the state finals. The duo placed third in the team roping event, earning a spot in the upcoming national tournament.

Even though Bailey is a defending champion in the event, she and Buzzy weren’t certain they would qualify, having not been able to compete in several rodeos leading up to the state finals.

“My teammate Buzzy and I missed our first two rodeos at the start of the season, and we were still able to place third in the state,” shared Bailey in a social media post. “No words can explain how happy we were to have made it this far and for it to only go up from here…I am fortunate to have awesome friends and family that support me day in and day out.”

“It was really a long shot for them,” explained Kalehua Augustiro, mother of Buzzy. “They really had to come from behind to make it.”

The Molokai cousins leaned on each other for support. Buzzy and Bailey train throughout the week at Kapualei Ranch under the tutelage of Sale Sproat, a decorated paniolo himself.

The Buzzy and Bailey duo were the only Molokai entries for this year’s state rodeo finals. Prior to COVID, over 20 Molokai kids were involved with rodeos, explained Kalehua Augustiro. Downsizing cattle operations on-island has been one of the major hurdles for hosting rodeos, she explained, along with the financial and logistic challenges of traveling for competitions. Now, the challenge is to continue Molokai’s proud paniolo legacy.

Another Molokai paniolo continuing to find success is Buzzy’s older brother, Kahiwa Augustiro. Now in his first year of a rodeo scholarship at Mid-Plains Community College in Nebraska, Kahiwa was named all-around cowboy and the Spectrum Athlete of the Week at the final rodeo of the season. Kahiwa put up strong performances in bull riding, steer wrestling and bareback riding in the effort. The older Augustiro will compete in the College National Finals Rodeo before continuing on the rodeo circuit throughout the summer.

“He’s living that cowboy life on the road right now, as well as going to school at the same time, because that’s what he plans to do professionally,” said Kalehua Augustiro.

Buzzy and Bailey have their eyes set on their older family member, with aspirations to continue rodeo in college as well. For now though, they’ll focus on competing at the National High School Rodeo Finals on July 14 to 20 in Wyoming.


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