According to Tori Lu, Hawaii is not just a beach paradise. It’s an island of various opportunities, and Lu and other islanders are in Lincoln to prove that at the National High School Rodeo Finals.
Tori and her sister, Miya, are both competing in shooting in Lincoln this week.
“This is an awesome opportunity for our team as a whole,” Lu said. “There is nothing on our island. There are so many limited opportunities to meet people and to see stuff like this, at this big of a level. It’s eye-opening for a lot of the kids.”
Lincoln, and Nebraska as a whole, have been welcoming the whole week. It’s something that Lu pointed out with her family.
“This is really close to Hawaii,” Lu said. “It is really cool to see how hospitable small-town people can be, and how Nebraska people in general have been really kind.”
Traveling from Hawaii to Lincoln was not easy. Lu and her family had their flight canceled and didn’t arrive until after the event started on Sunday morning. Many others
“We had a rocky start to our journey over,” Lu said. “This is really hard for a lot of others, too. They had to decide whether they want to lease a horse or if you are going to ship one here.”
This is the first time Lu and her new team have competed at nationals. They have been involved in other events, but this is the first time they have competed in shooting.
The rodeo scene is not the biggest in Hawaii, but it is a strong community. According to her, the state is still a big agricultural spot. Lu grew up with parents who were also involved in rodeo, and that got her started in it.
“There are plenty of little cowboy kids around and we have our own little community,” she said. “We are all really close to each other because there are so many limited opportunities on the island. We have to have each other’s backs to make things around.”
Lu has aspirations that differ from many others competing this week. She graduated high school this spring and is attending Oregon State this fall.
“I want to be an FBI agent,” she said. “I’m taking up psychology as my major and hopefully I can achieve that in the next six to seven years.”