WALLA WALLA – A fast start combined with clean exchanges led to an almost-perfect ending for Omak Express.
Riley Prescott (Colville tribal descendant) has taken over the reins from longtime jockey Tyler Peasley and he didn’t disappoint.
Prescott helped Omak Express take home first place in the Consolation Championship race of the Indian Relay Championship of Champions in Walla Walla on a rainy Sunday afternoon, putting an exclamation point to this season and ending with a win.
Three out of the six relay teams in the consolation championship race hailed from the Colville Confederated Tribes.
”It was an all-Colville race,” said Virgil Tonasket (Colville tribal member), out-holder for Omak Express.
At the start of the race, everybody was all grouped together at the start line, so Tonasket decided to guide the team’s first horse, Goldie, away from logjam of horses.
With no one around him, Prescott was able to hop right up on their first horse and within a few seconds, the two were out in the lead with the rest of the field forced to give chase.
It wasn’t the ideal start for the other two Colville tribal relay teams as Arrow Lakes Express and Northwest Express would find themselves struggling to get mounted. They would start in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Prescott led the entire first lap and didn’t have to worry about other riders out in front of him, as he was able to fly into his box with no traffic around.
Within a matter of seconds Prescott leaped off of his first horse and onto his second and was out of the exchange area, out in front all by his lonesome in first place, to start the second lap.
Arrow Lakes Express and Northwest Express found themselves neck-and-neck as they began their second lap.
As Prescott made it around the final corner of the second lap, he would have Black Rock and Amskapi Pikuni close behind as he made his way to the exchange areas.
Another clean and smooth exchange helped Prescott extend his lead.
By the time Black Rock Relay got out of their box, Prescott was long gone, building up speed as he was flying around the first corner of the third and final lap.
Prescott rounded the final corner in the lead and held off Blayne Deroche, jockey for Black Rock for the win, giving Omak Express the consolation championship.
“Riley’s done a good job. He’s cowboyed up,” said Tonasket.
Terrence Holford (Colville tribal member) and Arrow Lakes Express would go on to place fourth, and Northwest Express placed fifth.
At the very end of the race Tonasket met the full force of an oncoming horse.
“That was just a freak accident,” said Tonasket, who got barreled over by a horse at the end of the consolation championship race.
It was later determined that Tonasket broke three ribs, has a bruised lung and a sprained ankle.
“And I’m six foot, 240 pounds,” said Tonasket. “The guy in second place said ‘look out!’ And he bopped me over.”