In August 1908, three unknown riders arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, their hats adorned with wildflowers, to compete in the world’s greatest rodeo. Steer-roping virtuoso Ikua Purdy and his cousins Jack Low and Archie Ka’au’a had travelled 3,000 miles from Hawaii, of all places, to test themselves against the toughest riders in the West.

Dismissed by whites, who considered themselves the only true cowboys, the native Hawaiians would astonish the country, returning home champions—and American legends. An unforgettable human drama set against the rough-knuckled frontier, Aloha Rodeo unspools the fascinating and little-known true story of the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo, whose 1908 adventure upended the conventional history of the American West.


A Contributing Editor at Outside, David has also written for Wired, New York Times, the New Yorker, BusinessWeek, Nature, and numerous other publications. Three of his stories are currently being developed into films.


David’s latest book, Aloha Rodeo, will be published this spring by HarperCollins. He is also the author of The End of MoneyA Left-Hand Turn Around the World, Righting the Mother Tongue, and the nonfiction anthology Firsthand.


David has been featured in media such as Frontline, BBC, CBS Sunday Morning, Radiolab, and the Washington Post, and Slate, and delivered lectures to audiences in academia, the private sector, and organizations around the world.

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