Smaller-than-usual crowds turned out for the Omak Stampede, which celebrated return of tribal participation. Only the Aug. 12 rodeo performance was sold out. Last year, the Colvilles boycotted the Stampede, saying organizers were not giving them enough say in Okanogan County's biggest annual event. The Indian Encampment and Suicide Race were canceled and the Stampede lost about $52,000. After last year's event, the Colvilles, Stampede organizers and the Omak City Council negotiated changes that gave the tribes a bigger role in planning. It more than doubled the Suicide Race purse to $16,000, and allowed parking on grassy fields closer to the Indian Encampment. The Suicide Race is a furious dash by riders on horseback down a steep hillside and across a river, the majority most years have been tribal members. This year's race was marred by a serious injury to veteran jockey Bass Williams Aug. 11. While leading the pack, Williams took a spill at the bottom of the steep hill, suffering a concussion, broken leg and skull fracture. Casey Nissen of Nespelem was the overall winner of the race after coming in first on Friday and Saturday nights and placing third on Sunday.
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