Here are some pictures of the 2007 WWGA O-Mok-See, where Kate won the high
point saddle in the 13-18 division. It's her first saddle, we were all thirlled. It
is a great story:

Tonight I am proud to share my home with the WWGA O-Mok-See champion--Kate. She and Sugar rode like you-know-what for two days and 11 events to beat nearly thirty other kids in her 13-18 age group from WA, ID, and MT and bring home the trophy saddle. Winning O-Mok-Sees is kind of the ultimate goal in what we do, most of the regular winners sell theirs and finance their horse habits for the year. Others ride proudly in theirs so those of us who have never won one can look at them in awe. Kate is now part of a very cool club, she is so tickled she keeps worrying that she's going to wake up.

It's funny how these things go, we had been so focused on Will because he was in a younger age group and we thought he had a real good chance of winning. But he dq'd three times in the first day and went the wrong way in an event the second day, so was clearly out of contention early on. Kate dq'd in poles, the very first event, and we watched kids in her age group get fast times of the day and set new records event after event, so we figured she was just down in the pack. But she ran a beautiful two barrel flags and won it, then got two thirds and a fourth rest of the day. We'd decided no longer to check standings, but someone added up all the points and told her she was in first. Great, no pressure.

The next day started with a difficult event (Keg), Kate managed to get it clean but only placed 11th. The girl in second had a great run and won it. The next event was a fast but not difficult one, one of Kate's friends made an amazing run just before Kate went in and the announcer announced she had broken the record, "previously held by Kate Jack from 2005." Well, we hadn't known she held an o-mok-see record, Kate hears it as she walks in the arena and surely was distracted, hits the pole and dqs. She put her horse up, hid in a stall and sobbed, sure she had lost the saddle. But she cowgirls up and manages to get a fourth, a fifth, and a second in the next events, while all the other kids had their own share of ups and downs.

So it comes down to the last event, which WWGA chooses to make Tomahawk, one of the most tortuously difficult events ever invented. It involves running down a 120' course, grabbing a rubber "tomahawk" off a barrel while turning, then running back and throwing it in a 20 gallon (i.e. SMALL) can. People strategize like crazy over this, because saddles are won and lost here, but the bottom line is trying to go slow doesn't always work, as these horses aren't used to being asked to go slow and often make it difficult to grab and throw something if they are fighting. Plus everyone admires those with guts who "go for it," Kate included. She was four points ahead of second place and seven ahead of third (there's 15 pts. for first in each event), but I don't tell her this. She knows it's close, though. Will's age group is first, he has nothing to lose so runs hard and nails it with a smoking 8.546, the fifteen points he won doing so catapult him all the way up to fourth place and a nice prize. He even ends up just one point behind third (having started the day in tenth).

Kate's age group starts, the girl in second goes first, has a beautiful, clean, fast run. The girl in third tries to go slow and hits the barrel. We wait and wait, knowing now Kate must go clean or there is no hope for the saddle. And yet, going slow was never an option--no guts, no glory. I don't give her any suggestions, just wish her luck. She is finally called in last, flies down and nails it, clean, ends up running the fastest time in the whole show (8.326 seconds). I cry like a baby. :)

Besides Kate's new saddle and Will's spurs and monogrammed spur straps, each kid won $95 in the Friday night barrel race and the O-Mok-See "Superbucks" competition. I, of course, set a new family record and manage to dq in six events. But that's ok, Kate won. :) I won a bag of grain because the announcer felt sorry for me. It was a great weekend. :)