Northwest Express won the 2018 Champions of the Horse Nations Indian Relay Council relay races competed Sept. 21-23 at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds.

“To say that I am proud of you boys is an understatement,” wrote Ashlee Abrahamson on Facebook. “Talk about icing on the cake for the 2018 season. Hard work and long nights of practicing in the dark literally has paid off.”

The relays included five teams with three horses each for a total of 15 horses that clog the exchange area.

Each team includes a jockey, who rides bareback around the race course, along with a mugger and two holders.

HNIRC puts on the even with the five best teams in the nation.

“All of the teams have spent months practicing for the start of the race, ready to leap into action, confident that they will bring home the honors,” said an online description of the race at wallawallafairgrounds.com. “The holders and mugger ready to do their job, despite the risk of personal injury to themselves, as the horses come in for their exchanges.”

“Add to this the unsuccessful transfers - riders sprawled face down in the dirt of the track, or a rider clinging to the side of his horse in a struggle to stay aboard - and it’s easy to see why Indian relay is helping to fill the stands across the West,” said Jack McNeel in his book “Indian Relay Racing.” “They are all working together to keep their team safe and be the first to cross the finish line.

“The thrill of the race is tangible and addictive to everyone attending. Chiefs, warriors, and maidens also compete for a win, all while riding bareback fearlessly against one another to claim individual titles of their own.

A coed softball tournament to benefit those fighting cancer in Okanogan County is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7, at The Plex in Okanogan.

Save Second Base, sponsored by Bouncin’ for Boobies, will include 12 teams competing for a special T-shirt.

The tournament, which is free and great for spectators, includes players running backwards, do-overs and a “big” ball at times.

There will be a concession and a limited number of T-shirts for sale, said organizer Lynn Hoover.

“We will be able to take credit and debit cards,” she said.

Ashley Mitchell of the Almira/Coulee-Hartline volleyball team was named the girls’ 1B/2B week four student/athlete by Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Mitchell, a senior, registered eight kills, three blocks and one ace in her team’s three-set league win over Valley Christian on Sept. 18.

Then against Northport on Sept. 22, she collected 10 kills, six blocks and an ace in another three-set win.

The Omak boys’ cross country team moved up to No. 3 in week four, then fell out of the top 10 in week five of Washington State Cross Country Coaches Poll for 1A schools.

The Pioneers were listed under “others” in the poll released Oct. 1.

The Cascade boys were ranked No. 6.

In 1A girls, Cashmere was listed at No. 6 and Chelan was under others.

In 1B/2B girls, defending champion Liberty Bell remains at No. 1.

In 1B/2B boys, Tonasket is No. 5, Manson at No. 7, Liberty Bell at No. 10 and Brewster under others.

Looking for something different to watch this fall?

How about the 25th annual hydroplane races Oct. 6-7 at Pearrygin Lake State Park north of Winthrop.

The races are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A Discover Pass is required for parking.

Admission is free.

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