No letting go

Kanoa Awai-Dickson, a two-time Hawaii High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowboy, woke up in Van, Texas, this morning at the Elite Rodeo Clinic at Sky Ranch.

The King Kekaulike High School senior flew from Maui to Dallas on Friday with his father and grandfather to attend the camp – he was invited this fall.

The camp is run by Rope Myers, the 2001 world champion steer wrestler and a nine-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity because a lot of kids don’t get to go on long-distance trips like this,” Awai-Dickson said. “I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, so I’m going to make the most of it to really come back and help the younger kids.

“Some of the young kids over here who are just getting started if I can help them with what I learn it will help keep up the traditions of Maui and of Hawaii.”

Ken Miranda, the general manager of Kaonoulu Ranch and flagman for the HHSRA state finals, wrote a letter of recommendation to the clinic for Awai-Dickson.

“We have watched Kanoa grow and mature into a well-respected young man, amongst his peers and elders,” Miranda wrote in the letter. “The younger cowboys and cowgirls adore him for his kindness and patience he shows them.”

Awai-Dickson is looking for a college rodeo scholarship and will be seen by recruiters at the clinic, which started Sunday and runs through Wednesday.

The clinic also includes lectures on practice, horse care, fitness and the mental and financial aspects of pursuing a rodeo career.

Awai-Dickson competed in this year’s National High School Rodeo Association finals, and finished 19th in the steer wrestling first go.

“I want to show kids from Maui they can be competitive at state and in nationals,” said Awai-Dickson, who also plays football and volleyball at King Kekaulike. “I want to get to the college level. Right now I’m looking at Nebraska and Idaho. Maybe later on, I want to travel the circuit and get my pro card.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com