If you’ve heard of the Kalaupapa Mule Ride, you’ve most likely heard of Buzzy Sproat. A soft spoken cowboy in his 70s, Buzzy was an integral part of the mule ride and led a myriad of group trail rides down the world’s tallest sea cliffs.
He was the first one to take the mules down the trail in 1973 and eventually became co-owner of the company, greeting nearly every visitor over the last 40 years as they arrived to take the journey.
“I really enjoyed meeting Buzzy and the mule ride was life changing,” said Sandi McKenna.
When guests were nervous about the ride, he calmed their fears by reminding them that the mules knew the way and “we don’t have any suicidal mules.” Then with a gentle smile and a hearty laugh, he would lead the group down to Kalaupapa. Even if you came for the mule ride and Buzzy wasn’t the one to lead the group, you would still meet him as he would assign each visitor a specific mule for the trip.
“I am so grateful that we were able to meet him and go on the mule ride when we were on Molokai. To me, Buzzy exemplified the spirit, strength and heart of Molokai,” remarked Nancy Schretter.
But it wasn’t just the mule ride experience that carried Buzzy into the hearts of Molokai visitors around the world; it was that he lived and breathed Aloha with every step he took. “Buzzy was one of those special people that you instantly loved from the moment you met him,” said Rick Griffin.
“Buzzy was a force of life, even in the short day I spent with him, he left his mark on my heart. What a character he was,” added Beth Salvon.
Visitors and residents alike were touched by his generosity and his spirit. Shannon Wianecki commented, “I’ll never forget the time he flagged me down and filled my rental car’s tire with air. One of a kind. A prince.”
Buzzy passed away on June 14th, surrounded by family and friends. Visitor Sheila Sarhangi summed it up nicely, “His legend and spirit will live on for generations.” Rest in peace, Buzzy. You will be missed.
Recent articles about Buzzy Sproat: