Omak Stampede, Omak, WA, August 14, 2011

So here's the deal on this race, as I understand it: It's not a race, but a series. Three days of preliminaries, and then the grand finale, based on standings from the first three days. Over the precipice, down the hill, splash into the Okanagan river, swim across, then run up the opposite bank and into the Stampede grounds, for all the marbles. Yup. It's why I was up here in northern Washington in the first place, mere miles from A Foreign Country and possibly billions of scary furriners and potential terrorists and whatnot ... not to mention all that reasonably priced Wenatchee fruit I had passed at various stands.

Bul, as I had told the relative down at the Olympic Peninsula, a guy has just got to see this once in his life for himself. So I did, scary or not - drove all this way just for this moment. Actually, I almost missed the moment, and really had to hustle up and leave the rodeo grounds to get over to the river, because this came up real quick after the last bull.

And over the top they go! (That's a really steep hill, btw.)

More down the hill.

And "splash!" into the river.

There was some real odd nonsense happening on the swim across ... the type that would make a Philly Park "jocks highlights" reel.

And then poof! It was over. Long drive for 2 minutes of effect.

But hey, look at this Tillamook, their fair had Tilt-A-Whirl PLUS The Octopus, and it didn't cost a dime. (The fair, that is ... my marginal rodeo seat was $12).

And one impressive chunk of concrete on the Columbia, the Grand Coulee Dam.