On the island of Oahu, in the tropical state of Hawaii, there is a ranch like no other in the nation. Despite the arena being 125 x 300 and made entirely from anodized aluminum, it is under a 51,450 square foot building. But here’s the catch, the roof is solar panels and the pastures have wind turbines. The Big Rock Ranch takes their resources seriously.
Big Rock Ranch, also known by its Hawaiian name “Pohaku Nui Ranch”, is a tucked away secret in the islands. The arena was handmade by the Pontin family with love. Duke Pontin purchased the property for his wife, Brandi, to enjoy with her horses. The idea was always to have an indoor arena with great views of the ocean and mountain ranges. But the idea of a solar roof, an alternative source of income, quickly became a reality for the family. The energy produced from the solar is sold to local energy sources and utilized by the community.
Yes, that’s right. The roof itself is made up entirely of solar panels. It was the first building in the nation to have a 100% solar roof. Before, the solar would have to be placed on top of an already existing roof. With this type of solar roof, the efficiency increases given that there is more airflow under the panels enabling them to not get too hot.
That’s not the only alternative energy that has gone on around here. Big Rock Ranch borders a wind turbine farm. They managed to secure the lease of the green grass that is under the turbines, and have been able to have a successful grass fed beef operation there, known as North Shore Livestock.
The family has worked diligently to be great stewards to the land. By clearing excess trees, they were able to encourage grass to grow freely in their pastures. North Shore Livestock has specialized in two types of cattle industries. The most prolific one is their grass fed beef operation. Known for their superior genetic program, North Shore Livestock has been producing beautiful calves out of their Hereford cows.
All of their Hereford cows are covered by Angus bulls to produce the ideal cross for their grass fed operation, a black baldy. The ranch has flown bulls in from the mainland to ensure their genetics are elite. The ranch also runs a large purebred Corriente herd. The roping cattle are flown out to the mainland to be used by producers. The ranches original Corriente cows were flown in from a ranch in Oregon.
The people that live and work here are dedicated to tradition and core values. Horses are used daily to sort and process cattle, cow dogs are used to clear pastures, and rain is always cherished. The operation has also been able to fully utilize land grants provided by the state of Hawaii. The ranch works diligently on their safe grazing practices and uses intenseive rotational grazing on the cattle operation.
The grass fed beef has taken off locally and the ranch is famous for their juicy ground beef and flavorful steaks. You can find their meat in restaurants around Oahu or purchase them locally for your family.
The Pontin fam today holds events such as High School Rodeos and other horse shows. They also enjoy the arena space for themselves and their team roping carriers. Eventually they would like to spread their wings into weddings as time evolves.