sunset

The sun sets behind the Omak Stampede Arena on Thursday evening, Aug. 8. Rain came later.

OMAK – Rain is a rarity on Stampede weekend. To have rain fall all four days of the rodeo is nearly unheard of.

Yet rodeo fans experienced sprinkles and a couple thunderstorms both during rodeo performances and at other times Aug. 8-11.

Cooler temperatures accompanying the moisture may have contributed to revelers’ subdued attitudes, said Omak Police Chief Jeff Koplin. Complaints for Monday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 11, totaled 125, down from 153 in 2018.

Thursday was the hottest day of the four, with the high barely topping 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Most temperatures were in the high 60s and into the 70s.

“Overall, it was a pretty good weekend,” from a law enforcement standpoint, Koplin said. “There were a few fights and disorderly conducts. The weather could’ve been a factor.”

Alcohol use was managed well, too, he said.

“In looking through our call logs, it was not an unusual amount of calls,” said Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley. His office “had additional deputies working overtime on Friday and Saturday nights in order to handle the calls in case it was extra busy. They assisted in the Omak area as well as on the Stampede grounds.”

From 6 p.m. Aug. 7 to Monday morning, Aug. 12, 39 people were booked into the county jail, he said.

“The majority were warrant arrests and DUIs. There was one booking out of Omak for an attempt to elude,” Hawley said.

Crowds appeared to be down at some events, from the parade to the Indian encampment. Some rodeo performances drew sparse crowds, although Saturday – traditionally the biggest night – had a nearly full house.

Information about the 86th rodeo, from ticket sales and attendance to financials, was not available at press time. Office Manager Sarah Grooms said it appears ticket sales were up substantially from last year.

Ellensburg cowboy Jason Minor won all-around cowboy honors for winning a combined $2,413 in tie-down roping and team roping.

In the84th World-Famous Suicide Race, Oliver Pakootas rode Onyx to the overall title, winning all four races. It was only the seventh time since 1979, when competition went to a four-day format, that a horse won all four races.

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