Islanders compete in O-Mok-See games

"The Wild West was revisited by a group of Whidbey Island horseback riders recently when they competed in the sport of pattern horse racing called O-Mok-See.O-Mok-See is an Blackfoot Indian name for the most colorful performance on horseback meaning big riding dance. The National Saddle Club Association has adopted a set of pattern horse racing events for national competition. The ten Whidbey riders traveled to compete in the 2001 National O-Mok-See Championships in Vernal, Utah. They competed in 14 individual and six team events including pole bending, cloverleaf barrels, western jumping, two barrel flags, rescue race and devil's cowhide.Riders are categorized by age groups. Four of the Whidbey riders broke national records for their ages groups: Rachel Thomson broke a record in key race in the 8-11 age group; Jessica Winn in polo turn in the 12-15 age group; Donna Winn in the half-eight in the womens' group, age 16-39; and Gail Thomson in two barrel flags in the senior women, ages 40 and over. Other winners included Holly Fairbrook, fourth place in the 12-15 age group; Jamie Dunsmore, ninth place, women 16-19; Dan Thomson, fourth place, men 40-plus; and Tom LaGrandeur, tenth place, men 40-plus. Whidbey Western Games Association will host its fourth annual O-Mok-See with more than 100 riders expected at the Island County Fairgrounds Saturday, Aug. 25 and Sun. Aug. 26. High point saddles will be awarded to first place winners in five age groups as well as top quality awards for second through sixth placing in each age group. "

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