The National O-Mok-See Competition opens this Sunday at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds and will conclude Friday. The competition is free to watch.
"This is the second year the national competition has been in Blackfoot," said participant Mike Owens. "I've been all around the country in national competitions.
"This is the first time an O-Mok-See has taken place in the same location in the 21 years I've participated," he said.
"People were really impressed with the facilities, especially, the showers and the green grass," said Owens. "Brandon [Bird, general manager of the Eastern Idaho State Fair] and his crew were so helpful."
Around 500 people are expected at this national competition.
The sport of O-Mok-See originates with the Blackfoot Indian Tribe where they described a particular style of riding as "oh-mak-see pass-kan" meaning "riding big dance." The Blackfoot's riding big dance was not celebrated for some 50 years. All the old people remember it as a very striking performance.
It was principally a war ceremony. Before setting out on a mounted expedition against the enemy, the warriors of the camp performed this dance as a part of the prelude of stirring up courage and enthusiasm for battle.
O-Mok-See is more descriptive and more Western American than other names used for the sport of pattern horse racing. O-Mok-See found its way into our western riding vocabulary in the same manner as the Spanish-American word rodeo. O-Mok-See, historically speaking, was coined by people who were living here long before the Spaniards arrived with rodeo.
Events in this competition include:
Arena Race for all age groups.
Barrel & Stake for 12-15, adult divisions
Barrel & StakeāGraduated for under 8, 8-11
Figure 8 Stake Raceāall age groups
Flag Raceāall age groups
Flying W Raceāall age groups
Half Eightāall age groups
Keg Raceāall age groups
Key Raceāall age groups
pole Bendingāall age groups
Polo Turnāall age groups
Scurry Raceā8-11, 12-15, adult divisions
Speed Barrelsāall age groups
Straight Barrelsāall age groups
Tomahawk Raceāall age groups
Two Barrel Flagāall age groups