History of the Omak Stampede
the rodeo that became the Omak Stampede was just a dream of two Okanogan County stockmen, Leo Moomaw and Tim Bernard, who had started a rodeo string in 1932.
They approached Omak’s businessmen, who were eager to try anything to keep the Main Street of Omak busy. The little western town of Omak, situated in the heart of cattle country, soon pulsated with the thought of having a real live rodeo that would attract thousands of people to see world-famous cowboys perform.
Soon world champion cowboys announced they would participate. The lineup included Stub Bathlemay, world champion at the Calgary Roundup; Norman Stewart, winner of both Pendleton Roundup and Cheyenne Wyoming Roundup and the world’s best bronc rider; Bert Evans, winner of the north central Washington championship in 1932, and Ralph Sutton, winner at Waterville’s 1933 rodeo.
Others who performed in the first rodeo were Floyd Cook, Johnny Tubbs and Henry Michel.
Since the Cowboy’s Turtle Association – which evolved into the present-day Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association – was not formed until 1936, the rules for riding were set down by the contractors, cowboys and sponsors of the rodeo.
From these humble beginnings, the Omak Stampede grew and grew, and now is one of the largest and most respected rodeos in the Northwest.
Throughout its history, one thing has remained steadfast – the support and volunteer work of the Omak and Okanogan County community. What started as a tiny show with a big dream has blossomed into a major event that is true to the founders’ dream.