Onyx claims four straight Suicide Race wins

OMAK – The Pakootas family celebrated Sunday after one of its own, jockey Oliver Pakootas. rode Onyx to history by winning all four races in the 84th World-Famous Suicide Race competed Aug. 8-11.

It was only the seventh time since 1979, when competition went to a four-day format, that a horse ran the table on the races competed after each performance of the Omak Stampede rodeo.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Pakootas said after Onyx led over the hill, across the Okanogan River and easily into the Stampede Arena. “I’m proud as heck of my horse and family. It was a good, smooth weekend.”

Onyx surprised many with his win Thursday night, holding off Lonesome and jockey Tarren Meusy into the arena.

The gray horse owned by Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas earned five points, which are used to determine the overall winner, plus $5,500.

Lonesome, owned by George Marchand, earned four points and $4,125.

Eagle Boy, which entered the night having won the last four years’ overall titles, finished third with jockey/owner Scott Abrahamson aboard to earn three points and $2,750.

In the end, that’s how the top three horses finished in the final overall standings, too.

Prize money each race included $5,500 for first, $4,125 for second, $2,750 for third and $1,375 for fourth, or a total of $13,750 for each race.

Points, which are used to determine the overall winner, included five for first, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.

Before Sunday’s race, Pakootas said he and Onyx were going to go for four wins in row.

Afterwards he admitted, “I didn’t know for sure if we could win four straight. But Onyx just got stronger every race.”

A rule by the Owners and Jockeys Association, which runs the yearly races, allows a horse that’s sealed a victory, as Onyx did with 15 points entering the last year, to be able to sit out the race.

“I think we had a pretty good weekend,” said Owners and Jockeys president Pete Palmer. “Everybody came in safe and mounted. That’s what matters to us.”

Pakootas, whose horse won $22,000 for the four wins ($5,500 for each first) or a sizeable portion of the $55,000 purse, said his horse surged ahead in the river.

As Onyx headed up the ramp to the arena, Pakootas was surprised to look around and not see a close competitor.

“Congrats to the Pakootas family,” said Palmer. “I’ve watched Oliver grow up with his horse. He worked hard for it (championship).”

Francis Marchand on Schitzo Lenny, owned by Lacy and PJ Pakootas, got squeezed and bumped between two horses near the front of the pack Sunday. A horseshoer by trade, Marchand said he was sore after the wreck, as if he’d been shoeing a bunch of horses.

His horse, said Marchand, was a rookie in the race, having been broken in February.

“He’ll be better next year and bigger,” said Marchand, who had to skip riding bulls, the last rodeo event Saturday night, in order to be in the Suicide Race that immediately follows.

Abrahamson said there were so many who helped him and Onyx to the title, but Leroy Abrahamson helped him a lot.

“He taught me a lot,” said Pakootas, 28, who entered his first race at the minimum age of 16.

Onyx showed from a young age that he was special, that he could run with the “big horses,” said Pakootas and former owner Wade Ross of Keller.

“I bought him specifically to run off the hill because of his attitude,” said Ross, who owned Onyx the first four years of the 11-year-old’s life. “Now he belongs to the Grizzly Mountain Family.

“In the pen he was different from other horses and is still different from other horses,” said Ross.

“Normally when a small horse gets bumped by bigger horses he will retreat,” said Pakootas. “But he won’t back out.”

Pakootas has crashed four times with Onyx.

“He comes back faster every time,” said Pakootas. “Now the bigger horses don’t mess with him.”

One of the five jockeys to sweep four races for a title, Casey Nissen, said of Pakootas’ win, “That’s cool. I can’t think of a more deserving person. That whole family is really supportive, good help.”

Nissen, who won all four races on JD in 1994, originally entered two horses in the race – Dirty Dan and Thunder.

Dirty Dan is one of Nissen’s favorite saddle horses, for which he was searching for a jockey.

Enter Andrew Whiteman of the Blackfeet tribe and living in Browning, Mont.

Whiteman, 29, had been coming to the Suicide Races since he was 14. Plus, he was familiar with several jockeys competing in his tribe’s Indian relays.

Dirty Dan finished fourth on Sunday to earn two points and $1,375.

“He hit the water third,” stressed Nissen. “He was in the leading trio, that’s important.”

Thunder, which won the first runoff race with jockey Terrence Holford on Aug. 4, was pulled after an abscess formed in a foot.

The horse, which his children ride, will OK after healing for a couple weeks.

Two alternates got into the final field of 20 after Thunder and one other horse were pulled.

Getting in were Wind Walker, with the lone woman in the race, jockey/owner Audrey Seymour, and Dillinger, with jockey Alex McCraigie and owned by Henry and Kevin LaCourse.

Many of the Suicide Racers left Omak after the races for up to six weeks of competing in Indian Relay Races at sites across the nation.

That includes Grizzly Mountain Express, for which Pakootas is the jockey and Kerry Carden is the owner; Cayuse Relay Team, led by Nissen, and Omak Express, with jockey Tyler Peasley and owner George Marchand.

Carden was the first to win all four races during a rodeo week, doing it on Tony in 1981.

Peasley accomplished the feat in 2006 aboard Reuben.

Also with four wins are Aaron Carden on Patch in 2007 and Loren Marchand, who did it twice on Taz – 2008 and 2012.

“I’ve been through a lot of horses to find this one,” said Pakootas. “This is the one.”

Palmer commended former Kings of the Hill Loren Marchand on Augustus (owned by Marchand and Mike/Sheri Jones) and Scott Abrahamson on Eagle Boy.

The horses were pulled from Sunday’s race to keep them from possibly being injured.

“They choose to be outriders and support their brothers on the hill,” said Palmer.

Final overall standings

(horse, jockey, owner, points, winnings)

1, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, 20 points, $22,000.

2, Lonesome, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand, 8 points, $8,250.

3, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson, 6 points, $5,500.

4, Digger, Rocky Timentwa, Daniel Trevino, 5 points, $4,125.

5-7 tie, Blue, Josiah Desautel, Tim Holt/Tyler Peasley, 4 points, $4,125.

5-7 tie, Blur, Josiah Desautel, Tyler Peasley/Tim Holt, 4 points, $4,125.

5-7 tie, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, Babe Palmer, 4 points, $1,375.

8, Schitzo Lenny, Francis Marchand, Lacy and PJ Pakootas. 3 points, $2,750.

9-10 tie, Mufasa, Steven Ford, Zane Marchand/Leslie Herman, 2 points, $1,375.

9-10 tie, Dirty Dan, Andrew Whiteman, Casey Nissen, 2 points, $1,375.

11, Augustus, Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones, 1 point.

Thursday results

(Horse, jockey, owner, points, winnings)

1, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, 5 points, $5,500.

2, Lonesome, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand, 4 points, $4,125.

3, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson, 3 points, $2,750.

4, Mufasa, Steven Ford, Zane Marchand/Leslie Herman, 2 points, $1,375.

5, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, Babe Palmer, 1 point.

6, Blur, Josiah Desautel, Tyler Peasley/Tim Holt

7, Jackpot, Edward Marchand, Bronson Peterson

8, Schitzo Lenny, Francis Marchand, PJ and Lacy Pakootas

Friday

1, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, 5 points, $5,500.

2, Blue, Josiah Desautel, Tim Holt/Tyler Peasley, 4 points, $4,125.

3, Schitzo Lenny, Francis Marchand, Lacy and PJ Pakootas, 3 points, $2,750.

4, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, Babe Palmer, 2 points, $1,375.

5, Jackpot, Edward Marchand, Bronson Peterson, 1 point.

6, Augustus, Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones.

7, Duranimal, Chance Carson, Smoker, Anne and Zoe Marchand.

8, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson.

Saturday

1, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, 5 points, $5,500.

2, Blur, Josiah Desautel, Tyler Peasley/Tim Holt, 4 points, $4,125.

3, Eagle Boy, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson, 3 points, $2,750.

4, Digger, Rocky Timentwa, Daniel Trevino, 2 points, $1,375.

5, Augustus, Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones, 1 point.

6, Lonesome, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand.

7, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, Babe Palmer.

Sunday

1, Onyx, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas, 5 points, $5,500.

2, Lonesome, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand, 4 points, $4,125.

3, Digger, Rocky Timentwa, Daniel Trevino, 3 points, $2,750.

4, Dirty Dan, Andrew Whiteman, Casey Nissen, 2 points, $1,375.

5, Black Shay, Riley Prescott, Babe Palmer, 1 point.

Original 20-horse Suicide Race field

(Horse, bib number, jockey, owner)

Augustus, 6, Loren Marchand, Loren Marchand/Mike and Sheri Jones.

Big Man, 9, Tony Louie, Doug Seymour

Black Shay, 12, Riley Prescott, David Babe Palmer

Blue, 20, Josiah Desautel, Tim Holt/Tyler Peasley

Dale, 8, Josh Harry, John Pakootas Sr.

Digger, 5, Daniel Trevino, Daniel Trevino

Dillinger, 4, Henry LaCourse, Henry and Kevin LaCourse

Dirty Dan, 18, Andrew Whiteman, Casey Nissen

Duranimal, 13, Chance Carson, Smoker, Anne and Zoe Marchand

Eagle Boy, 1, Scott Abrahamson, Scott Abrahamson

Houdini, 3, Rocky Timentwa, Jim Best/Ivory Ford

Jackpot, 17, Edward Marchand, Edward Marchand

Lonesome, 19, Tarren Meusy, George Marchand

Mufasa, 14, Steven Ford, Zane Marchand/Leslie Herman

Onyx, 10, Oliver Pakootas, Shawnnae and Oliver Pakootas

Red Line, 16, Jasper Abrahamson, Jake and Bird Taylor

Schitzo Lenny, 2, Francis Marchand, Lacy and PJ Pakootas

Spirit, 15, Mose Ives, Milo Pakootas Sr.

Warbonnet, 11, Josh Cate, Lacy and PJ Pakootas

Wind Walker, 7, Audrey Seymour, Audrey Seymour

Past champions winning all four-races

(year, jockey, horse)

1981, Kerry Carden, Tony

1994, Casey Nissen, JD

2006, Tyler Peasley, Reuben

2007, Aaron Carden, Patch

2008, Loren Marchand, Taz

2012, Loren Marchand, Taz

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