LIHU‘E — A couple years ago an idea entered the mind of Jerry Nakasone, hanai son of Juliet and Harold Aiu, to hold a jackpot roping event dedicated to Harold Aiu, a member of the Hawai‘i Cowboy Hall of Fame and a Living Treasure as honored by the Kaua‘i Museum.
The event was planned for the summer of this year, around the time of Harold Aiu’s 80th birthday.
After Harold Aiu died earlier this year of cancer, Nakasone decided to go ahead with the event, at CJM Country Stables in Po‘ipu, in cooperation with Jimmy Miranda, CJM owner.
Over 100 cowboys and cowgirls came from near and far to compete in the two-day event, with each night ending with a feast and paniolo entertainment.
Every child, grandchild and great-grandchild of the Aius attended, some coming from as far away as Boston.
Harold “Papa” Aiu was watching over the belt-buckle and check presentations to the winners, from a poster atop one of his favorite horses.
Not only did Aiu actively rope on Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i for decades, he also traveled to the Mainland, as far as Oklahoma City, to compete in the U.S. team roping championships, oftentimes with partner Lelan Nishek of Kaua‘i Nursery & Landscaping.
Aiu would return with trophy saddles, belt buckles, blankets, bridles and other prizes in addition to cash winnings, family members said.
Born in Wailua to the late Alice Apana Aiu and Eugene Aiu, a well-known attorney on the island, Harold Aiu was the second-eldest child, and married the love of his life, Juliet Kanoa Aiu, niece of late Mayor Antone Kona Vidinha.
The two were married for 60 years.
Harold Aiu’s idol was his uncle, the late Ernest Apo Apana, also of Wailua, whom he spent a lot of time with.
Aiu often said, “My uncle is captain of Kapa‘a fire station, a great cowboy and rancher, electrician, carpenter, plumber, hunter and father, and I want to be just like him.”
Juliet and Harold Aiu raised five children: Bobby, Joey, Tommy, Wendy and Tootie, and they have several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Those helping make the roping event a success include Nakasone, Miranda, Joyce Miranda, the CJM crew, Glen Shimazu, Wendy Aiu, Charn Hall, Tootie Aiu and Jennifer Ching, Nalani and Pat Brun, Jenna Tasaka, Mona and Keith Oba, Tarey Low, Alan and the Waipa gang, Lori Wong and family, Caira and Calah Nakasone, Lorna Brun and family, Willy Sanchez, Johnny Sanchez, Soni Tupou, Pat DeBusca, Tom Runyan, Sam Thronas, Sandy Hulst, Kahea White and family, Mary Lou Mendes, Betty Ibaan and family, Akita family, Ross Farias, Kaua‘i Nursery & Landscaping, Robert Rita, John Ludington, Pat and “Bruddah” Kelekoma, Wayne and Mavis Souza, Garden Island Portable Toilets, Aston Po‘ipu Kai, Tommy Aiu and Hawaiian Seal (B.J. Duarte and Matt), and numerous other family members and friends.