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Maui County trio to compete in National High School Finals Rodeo

Kahiwa Augustiro competes in bull riding during a Hawaii High School Rodeo Association Maui District show. EMY FERGUSON photo

They don’t get to practice together very often, but that didn’t stop Daniel Miranda and Kahiwa Augustiro from qualifying for the National High School Finals Rodeo in team roping.

Miranda is a rising junior at Hawaii Technology Academy on Maui, while Augustiro will be a freshman at Molokai High this fall.

Miranda will also compete in tie-down roping in the NHSFR that will take place in Guthrie, Okla., July 17-23, while Augustiro will also be in the bull riding event. Maui’s Laura Coflin, a home-schooled rising senior, will compete in five events at the NHSFR.

Miranda and Augustiro practice team roping together when they are at the same competitions in Hawaii and the Mainland, but the bulk of their practice is done with relatives — Miranda works out with his father, Ken, and Augustiro trains with his uncle, Sale Sproat, a professional cowboy.

All three Maui County qualifiers have national experience — Miranda has been to junior high nationals three times and will be making his first high school appearance.

Laura Coflin rounds a barrel during the National High School Finals Rodeo. Acentric Rodeo photo

“Oh man, I am super, super excited to go,” Miranda said. “Every day I think about it. When I practice just thinking about it motivates me to practice harder, to push myself a little bit harder, do things I haven’t done, to make my times faster.

“The experience from junior high nationals coming into this is going to help me a lot because I’ve got a mental game plan for when I go there — I kind of know how it’s going to be, how to prepare myself during the week, just be in the perfect mental game to go there and do the best that I can to compete.”

Augustiro is the younger brother of former Molokai rodeo and eight-player football standout Chevy Augustiro. The team roping event will showcase their teamwork in an event where chemistry is key between the roper and heeler, who grapples the calf to the ground.

Add in the fact that they will be competing on unfamiliar horses borrowed from friends on the Mainland, and it becomes even more of an uphill climb.

“When we have rodeos here on Maui we practice the day before when he comes here,” Miranda said. “Uncle Sale heels for him on Molokai and my dad heels for me over here –we kind of work that way.”

Daniel Miranda competes in tie-down roping during a Maui District show. EMY FERGUSON photo

Miranda said that all of the competitors from Hawaii get questions at the national event that draws 1,650 competitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico.

“Oh, it’s super fun, I love talking to the kids up there, meeting new kids,” Miranda said. “A lot of them didn’t even know there’s cowboys and horses in Hawaii. They thought there was grass shacks and thought we didn’t have telephones.”

Miranda was the Maui district academic scholar winner for the second year in a row, finishing the recent school year with a 4.0 grade-point average.

Like Miranda, Augustiro said he wants to compete in rodeo in college. He points to Sproat as his role model.

“Super excited to go,” Augustiro said. “I went when I was a junior, but I can’t wait to see what there is in high school.”

Laura Coflin competes in pole bending at the National High School Finals Rodeo. Acentric Rodeo photo

Chevy Augustiro had some advice for his younger brother.

“He just said give it 100 (percent) and do your best,” Kahiwa said.

Bull riding “is my favorite event in rodeo — I just love the adrenaline rush,” said the 5-foot-6, 140-pound Augustiro. “That’s what my uncle does, so I would like to become just like him. I want to go to college to ride bulls.”

All three Maui County competitors said there is some trepidation going to the Mainland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I mean, we’re definitely seeing how bad it is in Texas and Oklahoma City,” Coflin said. “We’re definitely watching things — we’re definitely concerned. We were there for the scholastic polo tournament. Daniel was there also and there were a lot of people who had it. We didn’t catch it then, so hopefully we’ll be lucky again.”

Kahiwa Augustiro and Daniel Miranda partner in team roping at a Maui District show. EMY FERGUSON photo

Coflin — who also has a goal of college rodeo or perhaps professional polo — will have a full schedule competing in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, cutting and reining cow horse. She is making her third straight trip to high school nationals.

“I’m really excited to be going back,” she said. “I’ve had some really wonderful people offer me their horses, so I’m just excited to go back and see a lot of our friends up there and get to compete. … It’s going to be very, very busy.”

Coflin knows just how tough the competition will be.

“The experience is kind of life-changing because we have nothing anything close to that caliber, so to get to experience a big rodeo like that and to get to rodeo with a lot of kids is really cool,” she said. “Most of them go on to pro rodeo, so it really is a great experience.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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