Bronson Fuertes, Sr. was born and raised in North Kohala on the Big Island, an area considered to be “cattle country”. There are many generations of cowboys in the mountains of Kohala. The famous Parker Ranch, Kahua Ranch, Ponoholo Ranch, as well as many independent ranchers are found here.
He is a graduate of Kohala High School and a partner in DC Enterprise Kahua, a family owned and operated ranch in Makapala, North Kohala. He is currently employed by the County of Hawai‘i, Waste Management Division as a CDL type A Equipment Operator, and has been for the past 13 years.
He has served as a Mentor in the Ka Hana No‘eau Mentorship program for the past 7 years, teaching next generation students traditional Hawaiian Saddle Making methods at Kohala Middle & High School, and also Honoka‘a High School. His wholistic approach teaches his mentees all aspects of the craft, from slaughtering the cow, through processing the skin for their rawhide, to making the Hawaiian saddle in a traditional manner known as ‘awe‘awe (ah-vay ah-vay).Bronson was mentored by his father David Fuertes in the Hawaiian ‘awe‘awe style of saddle making for 6 years before assuming his position as mentor with the Ka Hana No‘eau program. Previously, he taught Hawaiian “Noho Lio” saddle making at various schools around the island for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, CBED grant through a project known as Kahua Pa‘a Mua. He has experience teaching adults and students from Kaua‘i High School, Honoka‘a High School, Laupāhoehoe High School, and Kohala High School.