The Omak Stampede — One of Okanogan County’s signature events, and a major boost to the Highway 97 economy on the eastern side of the county — has been canceled for 2020, organizers said last week.
According to a press release, Omak Stampede Inc., the Owner’s and Jockey’s Association, the Stampede Indian Encampment and the City of Omak jointly agreed that because of the challenges of the staging the well-attended event under COVID-19 restrictions, the Stampede would not take place as scheduled on Aug. 13-16.
“Each of us came together with our many concerns and considerations for our community, sponsors, and patrons,” the release said. “We feel that with the uncertainty within the state, we cannot provide the World Class Show that we pride ourselves in. … The ability to provide financial stability, patron safety, and community well-being at the current time, is completely beyond our control.”
The stampede’s facilities, which are also used for other events, are currently closed to all activities, the release said.
Organizers held out some hope. “We will continue to monitor our current pandemic situation and re-evaluate at a later date to see if we can hold some kind of event in the fall of this year,” the release said.
The Stampede was launched in 1933. Other than a few years off during World War II, is has been staged annually, “always the second week in August,” according to the event’s website.
The Stampede was scheduled to include a carnival, Western and Native art show, Indian Encampment, Wrangler Kids Night, parade, World Famous Suicide Race, dance, and movie showings.