Every year since 1933 the "World Famous Suicide Race" has been run in conjunction with the Omak Stampede.  It is held just off of the Colville reservation in eastern Washington state, and starts on a 250-foot hill overlooking the Okanogan River.  About 20 mounted horses bound down a 60% grade, swim through the river, and emerge on the other side in a dash for the finish line.

Years of tradition and experience stand behind many of the Native American riders that compete in the race.  Most of them own the horses they ride, and trust them with their lives.  Qualification rounds eliminate any horse that does not want to go down the hill, and mandatory veterinary checks attempt to keep all horses and riders safe.  Still in over 70 years of competition, this course has proven fatal for rider and horse alike.  Due to this, animal rights organizations who are unaware of the respect and care taken during the race have been able to undercut annual sponsorship.  For now, local merchants and citizens contribute to the race's survival.

Casey Nissen, who has ridden in this controversial horse race since he was 15, is a descendant of the Colville confederate tribes.  He grew up around expert horsemen outside Nespelem, WA, a few hundred yards from the grave of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.  Now in his late 40's, he is a testament to how much hard work and knowledge go into choosing and training the proper horses to run this rugged course.  At the same time, his vibrant personality invites people to understand more about the competition he loves.