ride-in

Omak Stampede Queen Vanessa Pershing (carrying the American flag) rides in the kickoff ride-in event Thursday morning, Aug. 8, in Omak. The ride-in started at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds and wound up in the Omak Stampede Arena.

OMAK – Top professional cowboys and cowgirls are signed up to compete at the 86th annual Omak Stampede, set for Aug. 8-11.

The 84th World-Famous Suicide Race, plus the Omak Stampede Indian Encampment, ride-in, grand parade, two art shows and other Western fun, accompany the rodeo.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday in the Omak Stampede Arena, 421 Stampede Drive E.

Tickets are available from the Stampede ticket office next to the arena in East Side Park, online or by phone.

Prices vary, depending on the performance and section. Special prices are offered on Thursday for family night and on Sunday for Patriot Day plus additional discounts.

Fans can expect a full range of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing. Breakaway roping has been added this year to the traditional event – tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing.

A wild horse race starts the Thursday, Friday and Saturday rodeo performances, and a running of the World-Famous Suicide Race comes after each rodeo performance.

Activities begin Aug. 7 with opening of the Davis Shows carnival at the west end of East Side Park, in which the rodeo arena also is located. Carnival hours are 5-11 p.m. Wednesday; the carnival continues daily throughout the weekend.

The encampment gets going Wednesday evening with campers’ night, as does the Omak Western and Native Art Show at the Omak Elks Lodge, 110 S. Ash St. Hours for the art show are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 8-10, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 11, with a reception and live auction at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday brings the annual kick-off ride-in, plus continuation of the art show and carnival. The Cowboys and Indians Invitational Art Show artists’ reception starts at 1 p.m. at RockWall Cellars, 110 Nichols Road. The show continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Preceding the Thursday night rodeo is the annual Wrangler Kids’ Night, starting at 4 p.m. in the arena. Youngsters can compete in a variety of games and a dress-up contest; prizes will be given.

Thursday is family night at the rodeo.

Slack competition in timed events will be at 9 a.m. Friday in the arena. Admission is free.

Slack is offered when there are more contestants signed up for a timed event than can be run during the regular rodeo performances. The extra competitive time also allows contestants to make a showing at more than one rodeo per weekend.

Opening ceremonies for the Omak Stampede Indian Encampment will be at 6 p.m. in the dance arbor at the east end of the park.

The rodeo is at 7 p.m., followed by the Suicide Race and a dance with DJ Jason Brown.

Friday is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night at the rodeo, with $1 from each ticket going to the campaign to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and detection. Stampede officials urge rodeo participants and fans to wear pink.

The rodeo is at 7 p.m., followed by the Suicide Race and dance with live music by the Night Riders.

Other Friday events include continuation of both art shows, the encampment and the carnival, opening of the Christians in Action Stampede Outreach and a 3 p.m. showing of “Eagle Boy” at the Mirage Theater, 101 S. Main St. Another showing of “Eagle Boy” is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Saturday includes the encampment and carnival, art shows – both with receptions, Stampede Outreach, an Autographs and Athletes session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jess Auto, 707 Okoma Drive, rodeo performance at 7 p.m., Suicide Race and dance with the Night Riders.

Sunday is Patriot Day in support of U.S. troops, with red, white and blue clothing encouraged by Stampede officials. Veterans get in free with military ID.

The encampment, Stampede Outreach, art shows and carnival wrap up.

The Stampede grand parade will be at 10 a.m. in downtown Omak.

Each rodeo performance begins with the Parade of Flags, a drill involving horses and riders carrying flags sponsored by area businesses, clubs and agencies.

Arena runs by royalty follow, with Stampede Queen Vanessa Pershing, Tonasket, reigning over the event.

Assisting the cowboys will be bullfighters Erick Schwindt and Logan Blasdell, and clown and barrelman J.J. Harrison, who grew up in Okanogan. The specialty act is Cowgirl Sweethearts trick riders.

The announcer will be Steve Kenyon. Stock contractors are Big Bend, Ritzville, and Flying 5, Pomeroy.

Suicide Race fans wearing booster buttons, available on the grounds and in local businesses, will be admitted to special viewing areas on the hill and the dike in the park. A rodeo ticket stub from the performance preceding each race also grants admission to the dike area.

Viewing also is available from many areas of the arena for rodeo ticket holders.

Concessions will operate all weekend on the grounds. Vendors offer a variety of food and beverages, cowboy hats and other souvenirs.

Stampede Museum Association museum will be open during the weekend at 410 E. Second Ave., near the Omak Visitor Information Center and just off Omak Avenue. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Aug. 8-11.

Fees are charged for parking on the grounds, with day and weekend passes available. Flaggers will be on hand to help direct traffic at the end of each rodeo performance.

Separate parking fees apply in the encampment area.

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