Full steam ahead for World-Famous Suicide Race

Scott Abrahamson on Eagle Boy, the three-time champion in the World-Famous Suicide Race, gets unseated when the back cinch on his saddle came loose as he prepared to lead into the Okanogan River. Abrahamson fell off the horse in the river, remounted and won the race.

Photo by Al Camp
Scott Abrahamson on Eagle Boy, the three-time champion in the World-Famous Suicide Race, gets unseated when the back cinch on his saddle came loose as he prepared to lead into the Okanogan River. Abrahamson fell off the horse in the river, remounted and won the race.



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Jackpot, with jockey Edward Marchand aboard, leads the pack down the Suicide Hill during the first of two elimination heats Sunday. Jackpot would win the race.

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Edward Marchand leads the pack up the ramp to the Stampede Arena in the first elimination heat for the World-Famous Suicide Race on Aug. 5.

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Eagle Boy with jockey Scott Abrahamson squeezes between No. 7 Onyx with Oliver Pakootas and No. 2 Woosta with Jordan Pakootas in the second elimination heat for the World-Famous Suicide Race on Aug. 5.

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Eagle Boy and jockey Scott Abrahamson (at far right) race along the shore to catch up with Onyx and Oliver Pakootas (7) in the second elimination heat Sunday.

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Digger with Daniel Trevino on the reins (10) heads out of the Okanogan River and onto a ramp to the finish line in the Omak Stampede Arena. Others (from left) include Chief with Connor Picking (9), Redline with Jason Meusy (13), Wind Walker with Henry LaCourse (11) and Houdini with Tanner Hall (4).

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Cute moment: Joe Carden reads a starting position number for Levi Brotherton and Bugz after his son, Louis, drew it while wearing a horse head.

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Ashlee Abrahamson (left) and Lacy Pakootas prepared No. 1 Red Cloud that was ridden by Francis Marchand and owned by Lacy and PJ Pakootas.

— Two elimination heats Sunday whittled a 29-horse World-Famous Suicide field to 20 horses for races that follow each performance of the Omak Stampede rodeo Aug. 9-11.

Jackpot won the first heat with jockey Edward Marchand, who took a tumble at the finish line.

Three-time defending champion Eagle Boy was guided through two front runners by jockey Scott Abrahamson, who came off his horse in the Okanogan River, remounted and won the second heat.

The top 10 in each heat automatically advanced.

Four alternates were announced in case any of the 20 could not race.

The first heat came off late because the Calcutta took longer than expected.

Jackpot, which had the No. 14 and last spot in the field, broke first on the downriver side of the hill.

Edward Marchand said he was trying to keep the horse well behind the starting line because of new rules this year in which race stewards will review video from the start and finish before declaring a final order of finish.

Any violation, such as being over the line when a shotgun sounds the start, would lead to elimination.

“I thought I needed to get back, that I better be on the line, not over the line. I didn’t want to make everyone wait,” he said.

“Bam,” he said loudly of the start. “He just came flying over there (top of the hill). He’s smooth his year. Jackpot is a caddy, like a Cadillac. That’s a lot to say about a horse.”

The jockey felt maybe the start was too fast.

“I started to check up pretty early because I didn’t see anybody around him,” said Edward Marchand, who has been training the horse for two years (this is his third year on the horse). “I’m with horses 365 days a year. I’m not a weekend warrior. I’m a horseman.

“That horse is pretty good this year.”

Jackpot maintained its lead across the river, up the ramp and across the finish line in the Stampede Arena.

“I know I don’t want to run straight (toward a railing) at the finish,” said Edward Marchand, who turned his horse to slow down.

The maneuver turned him into the path of third-place Agustus, ridden by a brother, Loren Marchand.

There was a loud crack before the impact sent Edward Marchand sailing.

“I saw a horse head hit my horse,” Edward Marchand said. “I hit the ground before my horse did. I’m surprised my horse didn’t roll over me. I thought I better have won if I take a hit like that.

“I remember getting up and someone hollered at me if I was OK. I hollered ‘I’m good.’ Someone said, ‘No, you’re not.’” he said. “I guess I got laid up a bit. I’ve never been hit so hard in a very long time.”

He also asked about Jackpot and was told the horse was OK.

Edward Marchand said the great horse Taz, now retired and No. 2 in all-time wins at 23 and took the overall championship seven times, was beaten only three times in races.

“I beat him twice on two different horses,” he said. “I’ve been at this for 15 years.”

After the collision, people hollered for the two EMTs, who were on the hill where most accidents occur. That included treatment of a very banged up George Marchand, who was bucked off Diamond Saturday night during the final day of qualification.

The EMTs were quickly whisked across the river by the tribe’s rescue boat.

George Marchand, who is associated with several horses either by training or ownership, sported scabbed-over scrapes across his forehead and under his elbows.

“I’m getting around,” George Marchand said on Sunday as he limped around the paddock because of bruising by saddle swells. “I didn’t make the river, hit the rocks. The hardest part (coming down the hill) was hoping to make the water. I’m all bumped up. I feel better today than yesterday.”

Eagle Boy finds way to first

Three-time defending champion Eagle Boy and Scott “Scotty” Abrahamson took a familiar route but unconventional means to first place in the second heat.

“I had kind of a bad start,” Abrahamson said, coming over the crest of the Suicide Hill last in a group of four.

Directly in front of him was Oliver Pakootas on Onyx in the lead a bit ahead of Woosta and Jordan Pakootas.

Behind them were Bugz with Levi Brotherton, followed by Eagle Boy and Abrahamson.

To Eagle Boy’s right, well downriver, was a group of four led by Digger and Daniel Trevino. Right there with him was Mufasa with Steven Ford.

Behind them were Redline with Jason Meusy and Houdini with Tanner Hall.

Abrahamson spurred Eagle Boy through an opening between Woosta and Onyx before hitting the bottom of the hill in the lead.

But then came near disaster as the back cinch on his saddle broke, almost jetting Abrahamson off his horse.

Abrahamson managed to stay in the saddle as Eagle Boy flew into the river, where the jockey slid off his saddle.

The jockey managed to rein in Eagle Boy, remount and take a familiar route across the river, way upstream from the rest of the racers.

Eagle Boy got to the shore first, although a good 100 feet upriver of the ramp to the arena.

“I thought when I saw Oliver (on Onyx) that we were going to meet,” Abrahamson said. “Then I saw him stumble (out of the river) coming up the dike. The only one who could pass me was Oliver.”

All Abrahamson could think of as he sped to the finish was a sense of relief that he managed to finish the race.

The Owners and Jockeys Association, which puts on the races, said the final field would not be known until horses cleared a veterinary check Thursday. Horses found not fit could be replaced by those on an alternate list.

Only horses that start Thursday can remain eligible for the rest of the races, all of which include a vet check.

Announced 20-horse field:

Agustus, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones, Loren Marchand

Black, Bab Palmer/Jonathan Abrahamson, Riley Prescott

Blur, Tyler Peasley/Tim Holt

Bugz, Louie Castro, Levi Brotherton

Chief, Louie Castro, Connor Picking

Digger, Daniel Trevino, Daniel Trevino

Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson

Houdini, Ivory Ford/James Best, James Best

Jackpot, Bronson Peterson, Edward Marchand

Julio, Annette Moses and Gabe Moses, Gabe Moses

Lonesome, George Marchand, Tarren Meusy

Onyx, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, Oliver Pakootas

Red Cloud, Lacy and PJ Pakootas, Francis Marchand

Red Man, Abe Grunlose, Mathew Pakootas Jr.

Sammy, Casey Nissen, Casey Nissen

Spade, Montana Pakootas, Rocky Timentwa

The Wolf, Glen James, Glen James

Wicked, Josiah Desautel and Wheatie Desautel, Josiah Desautel

Wind Walker, Albert and Marilee Seymour, Henry LaCourse

Woosta, Blake Marchand, Jordan Pakootas

Top four alternates:

Redline, Jake and Norberta Taylor

Spirit, Milo Pakootas Sr., Alex McCraigie

Shy Jet, Gabe Marcellay, Montana Pakootas

Chisum, Skeeter Terbasket, Rich Terbasket

Heat 1 results (Top 10 advance)

1, Jackpot, Bronson Peterson, Edward Marchand

2, Spade, Montana Pakootas, Rocky Timentwa

3, Agustus, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones, Loren Marchand

4, Blur, Tyler Peasley/Tim Holt, Tyler Peasley

5, Red Cloud, Lacy and PJ Pakootas, Francis Marchand

6, Black Shay, Babe Palmer/Jonathan Abrahamson, Riley Prescott

7, Red Man, Abe Grunlose, Mathew Pakootas Jr.

8, Lonesome, George Marchand, Tarren Meusy

9, Wicked, Josiah Desautel and Wheatie Desautel, Josiah Desautel

10, Julio, Annette Moses and Gabe Moses, Gabe Moses

Others alphabetically:

Chisum, Skeeter Terbasket, Rich Terbasket

Jim Creek, Joshua Harry, Mike Harry

King Kong, Joe Pakootas, BeauDeen Adolph

Shy Jet, Gabe Marcellay, Montana Pakootas

Spirit, Milo Pakootas Sr., Alex McCraigie

Heat 2 (Top 10 advance)

1, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson

2, Houdini, Ivory Ford/James Best, Tanner Hall

3, Onyx, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, Oliver Pakootas

4, Digger, Daniel Trevino, Daniel Trevino

5, Bugz, Louie Castro, Levi Brotherton

6, Sammy, Casey Nissen, Casey Nissen

7, Chief, Louie Castro, Connor Picking

8, Woosta, Blake Marchand, Jordan Pakootas

9, Wind Walker, Albert and Marilee Seymour, Henry LaCourse

10, The Wolf, Glen James, Glen James

Others alphabetically:

Mufasa, Zane Marchand, Steven Ford

Omaha, Jimmy Marchand, Milo Pakootas Jr.

Redline, Jake and Norberta Taylor

S’cwanyton, Virgil Tonasket, Austin Covington



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