Paniolo Preservation Society tips our hat to one of the greats, Harold “Freddy” Rice.

Paniolo Preservation Society wishes to share our most sincere condolences for the recent passing of Paniolo Hall of Fame Member and Founding PPS Board Member, Harold “Freddy” Rice.

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By Dr. Billy Bergin

Harold “Freddy” Rice spent over 60 years in Hawaii ranching with his last ranch being in Lalamilo, Waimea, Big Island. His first job out of Cornell and the Army was at Grove Ranch on Maui, but in 1956 he was called to manage Kahuku Ranch in Ka’u under the Damon Estate. Here at Kahuku Ranch, Freddy and his wife Sally conducted significant advances in range management. Much of their studies were published in UH Extension bulletins. Freddy was also interest in game management and imported buffalo to Hawaii, but they never really caught on.

Freddy imported several Quarter Horse stallions to Hawaii, notably Jimmy S, a horse that his grandfather had found in Texas. Jimmy S became a prominent sire of some of Hawaii’s top rodeo horses.

The Hawaii Rodeo Cowboys Association was founded by Freddy Rice, in concert with his wife Sally, cousin Peter Baldwin, Albert Silva, Clement Andrade, and later, attorney Bob Bethea. The group produced a rule book that stills stands today as the well conceived, published, and applied guidelines for rodeo production in the Hawaiian Islands. By 1964, the rodeo scene in Hawaii had become significantly professionalized in no small part to Freddy’s influence.

Polo was a lifelong love of Freddy Rice and a sport he played an historic role in here in Hawaii. He was on his high school team at Punahou, then played at the New Mexico Military Institute and then Cornell University as well as professional venues on the mainland. In Hawaii, he matched his continental prowess with grit and class and continued to love and promote the sport at every opportunity.

Paniolo Preservation Society was merely a dream in Freddy’s mind back in 1998, his forthright homage to the cowboys of old Hawaii. He joined with others to forge the coalition of like minded individuals throughout the State to established the 501c3 in 1999 dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting Hawaii’s ranching heritage. A year later, his hero, Ikua Purdy, was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

The above narrative is just a glimpse of what Freddy’s done for Hawaii’s ranching, rodeo and polo world. Paniolo Preservation Society, along with the Rice and Miranda ohana, will celebrate Freddy’s life in a memorial evening event at Pukalani Stables on Friday, February 16th. We tip our hat to a great cowboy and community leader, and one whose influence was substantial and who will be missed by many.

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You can read on article an Freddy Rice by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald at

Read about Freddy Rice’s induction into the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council “Paniolo Hall of Fame” along with an oral history interview at:

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