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Maui County trio put up top performances at NHSFR

Kahiwa Augustiro (from left), Emily Coflin and Daniel Miranda pose with their awards after their top finishes at the National High School Finals Rodeo, held July 18-24 in Lincoln, Neb. Augustiro placed 12th in bull riding, Coflin finished 13th in girls cutting and fourth in All Around Rookie Cowgirl, and Miranda tied for 10th in boys cutting and placed 18th in tie down roping. Photo courtesy of Morag Miranda

Maui County is on a roll at the National High School Finals Rodeo the past couple years.

One year after the best individual finish ever for a competitor from Maui County, a trio of local competitors put together perhaps the best combined performance from the county.

The Maui County threesome — Emily Coflin, Daniel Miranda and Kahiwa Augustiro — combined for four final go-round appearances, which include the top 20 competitors in each event in the NHSFR that took place in Lincoln, Neb., July 18-24.

Coflin followed in her older sister Laura Coflin’s footsteps — Emily finished 13th in girls cutting one year after Laura was second in the same event, the best finish ever for a Maui County competitor.

Emily Coflin, 14, an online Acellus School sophomore, was also fourth in All Around Rookie Cowgirl.

“It’s pretty cool, I mean all the people that gave me the horses, they’re just so awesome and I couldn’t have done it without the horses — they’re like half of the deal, you can’t do it without the horses,” Emily Coflin said after using three different horses in the cutting, pole bending and reined cow horse events.

Emily Coflin surprised herself with her finish in the All Around.

“No, not at all, I had no idea, so it’s like pretty awesome that I even made it to rookie in the first place, just to be in it,” she said. “This was also my first year in cutting, so to make it to the top at nationals is just pretty awesome. To get to go in the short go, it’s pretty cool.”

Laura Coflin was also on the trip.

“She’s always been, like, my coach and is always helping me, super good support,” Emily Coflin said.

Miranda, a senior at Hawaii Technology Academy, tied for 10th in boys cutting and was 18th in tie down roping. He plans to compete in the sport in college.

“It was pretty awesome, this is the first year ever making it to the short go,” Miranda said. “I think I’ve gone to nationals five times, six times (including junior high nationals) and this is the first time I’ve made it to the top 20. To make it to the top 20 in two events was almost unrealistic, but it was so awesome.”

For college, Miranda’s top choice at this point is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which has a strong rodeo team and a school of agriculture that Miranda has an eye on.

“They have a major in ag systems management, which is what I’d be majoring in,” Miranda said.

His father Ken Miranda is the general manager for Kaonoulu Ranch, and Daniel is a seventh generation family member on the ranch, through his mother Morag and the Rice family.

“All plans change, that’s why you have a plan, but my plan right now would be to graduate high school, then go to Cal Poly and rodeo there, and get my degree,” Daniel Miranda said. “Then after Cal Poly — I’ve got the support through my rodeo sponsors that I’ve acquired the past couple of years and my family up here and my family in California — I’d like to go try some pro rodeo a little bit.”

Miranda added, “Making it to the pro circuit would be, man, it’s every rodeo kid’s dream to be a part of the (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and rodeo in the big rodeos like Cheyenne and Pendleton.

“It’s just one of those dreams you set up as a little kid: ‘I’m going to try and go pro rodeo,’ but it’s not just pro rodeo. It’s the family you meet, the friends you acquire along the way, the connections that you make that help you move on in the rest of your life that is almost more important than the actual rodeo part.”

Augustiro, a junior at Molokai High School who was making his fifth trip to nationals including three in the junior high ranks, competed in bull riding and steer wrestling in Lincoln. He finished 12th in bull riding.

“It’s pretty cool, I did really good,” Augustiro said. “I didn’t really get to practice bull riding, but it’s all in the head. The practice that I got was just entering rodeos and jumping on bulls.”

Sale Sproat, the reigning Makawao Stampede All-Around Cowboy, is a mentor to Augustiro.

“Sale, he means plenty, he’s the one who got me into bull riding,” Augustiro said. “Up at nationals, I wanted to thank my uncle Monty (Miranda) — he was the one that pulled my bull rope — he was there by my side when I was ready to jump on the bull.”

Augustiro was proud of being part of the Maui County contingent and Team Hawaii.

“We got some pretty good rodeo kids,” he said. “We just have got to keep it up, keep up the practice and the building work and maybe we’­ll make it far.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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