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Omak is a small mill and orchard town in the beautifully rustic Okanogan Valley of north-central Washington. Lake Omak to the southeast, on the Colville Reservation, is part of an ancient channel of the Columbia River, which ran north prior to the last Ice Age before turning south at Omak in what is now the lower Okanogan Valley.
In recent years Omak has been criticized by animal lovers for its mid-August Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. During the annual event, wild horses race down a steep bluff and across the Okanogan River. Some horses have been killed and riders seriously injured. Most of the riders are from the Colville Reservation, and elders defend the race as part of Indian culture. Despite the detractors, more spectators attend the event each year.
Omak at a Glance
Elsewhere in Eastern Washington
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