Rainbow Warriors will attempt to keep possession of Paniolo Trophy in Friday’s showdown at Wyoming


Rainbow Warriors celebrate victory over Wyoming with Paniolo Trophy in 2018 // Hawaii Athletics

When the University of Hawaii football team faces off with Wyoming on Friday night, more than a valuable victory in the Mountain West Conference will be on the line in Laramie.

The Paniolo Trophy is awarded to the winner of games between the Rainbow Warriors and Cowboys.

UH will enter the 2020 showdown with possesion of the trophy after a 17-13 win in 2018 at Aloha Stadium.

Named after the Hawaiian word for cowboy, the Paniolo Trophy was donated by the Wyoming Paniolo Society, a group of Hawai’i residents with roots in Wyoming in an effort to strengthen the bond of friendship between the two institutions.

The trophy was awarded annually from 1979-97 when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference. The teams actually began playing each other in 1978 – the year before Hawai’i joined the WAC – with UH winning 27-22. The series was interrupted following the 1997 game after Wyoming moved to the Mountain West Conference. When UH joined the MW in 2012, talks between both schools began about renewing the rivalry trophy.

Warriors on a mission to reclaim Paniolo Trophy from Wyoming

The original Paniolo Trophy featured a bronze cowboy preparing to toss a lariat. However that trophy was lost and a replacement was recently donated by Dr. Billy Bergin, a regent emeritus of the University of Hawai’i. With the help of the Paniolo Preservation Society, a group that celebrates the Hawaiian ranching industry and headed by President Mrs. Patricia C. Bergin, the new bronze trophy features Hawaiian cowboy Ikua Purdy roping a wild stag bull.

The trophy is a reproduction of a larger work by noted western artist and sculptor Fred Fellows located at Parker Ranch in Waimea, Hawai’i. The trophy is approximately 12 inches high and 20 inches long mounted on a sloping slab of walnut.

Engraved are the scores each game in the series and the inscription, “Originated during the 1979 football season when a group of Hawai’i residents with roots in Wyoming created a travelling prize to be presented to the winner of the Wyoming-Hawai’i football game. It was originated to strengthen the bonds of friendship between these two universities. Paniolo is the Hawaiian term for Cowboy. The two institutions thank the Paniolo Preservation Society for donating this beautiful bronze featuring Hawaiian Cowboy Ikua Purdy.”

Purdy won the steer-roping contest at the Frontier Days Rodeo in 1908. In 2008, the PPS celebrated the Waiomina (Hawaiian word for Wyoming) Centennial Celebration as a joint honor with the state of Wyoming and city of Cheyenne with the state of Hawai’i and Purdy’s hometown, Kamuela, Hawai’i. Purdy was the first Hawaiian inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999.


Date Result Location

10/06/18 UH 17, WYO 13 Honolulu
09/23/17 WYO 28, UH 21 Laramie
10/11/14 UH 38, WYO 28 Honolulu
11/23/13 WYO 59, UH 56 (ot) Laramie
09/13/97 WYO 35, UH 6 Honolulu
09/14/96 WYO 66, UH 0 Laramie
09/14/96 WYO 66, UH 0 Laramie
09/16/95 WYO 52, UH 6 Laramie
11/19/94 WYO 13, UH 10 Honolulu
10/23/93 WYO 48, UH 10 Laramie
11/21/92 UH 42, WYO 18 Honolulu
08/31/91 UH 32, WYO 17 Laramie
11/17/90 UH 38, WYO 17 Honolulu
09/16/89 WYO 20, UH 15 Laramie
11/19/88 WYO 28, UH 22 Honolulu
11/28/87 WYO 24, UH 20 Honolulu
11/29/86 UH 35, WYO 19 Honolulu
10/12/85 UH 26, WYO 18 Laramie
11/03/84 UH 31, WYO 28 Honolulu
11/26/83 WYO 31, UH 13 Honolulu
10/02/82 WYO 28, UH 10 Honolulu
10/10/81 UH 14, WYO 9 Laramie
09/27/80 WYO 45, UH 25 Laramie
11/17/79 WYO 21, UH 13 Honolulu

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