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Doug Norman and Cassie Johnson competed at the 2021 State O-Mok-See at the Billings Saddle Club. 

There were 48 riders from Cut Bank Saddle Club (CBSC) competing at the 2021 State O-Mok-See held at the Billings Saddle Club over Labor Day weekend. Twenty-two of CBSC’s riders finished in the High Point Standings. “We won’t get High Point Club results until Convention, but it’s a pretty good bet we get that trophy back,” predicts Kim Norman.

Cassie Johnson was the High Point Rider in the 31-45 Women’s age group of 35 contestants. She also coached the 8-11 High Point winner.

Cassie won two and placed in two more of the six individual events. She rode with Kelsey Morris, Kalispell, in the Just Another Pair race finishing in the top ten racing against 50 other pairs. Cassie won the Straight Barrels setting the record in that event with a 25.979!  Her horse Vegas is an amazing cutting bred mare that has had issues staying sound enough to compete. But with several therapy sessions over the last couple years Cassie has managed to keep her performing. 

O-Mok-See horses get massages, PEMF treatments, chiropractor visits and more. When you have a good one, you pamper them as necessary to get the record!

 Chad and Cassie Johnson’s daughter, Lennix, also competed at State in Under 8, riding Topaz, who taught several of the Manley kids to ride. Last year McKenzie Aines made her O-Mok-See debut riding her. Good kid’s O-Mok-See horses can perform well into their 20’s. 

Lennix was eighth in the High Point standings placing in every event. Little sister Lindzie is just getting started Candy Bar racing. Cassie said, “I have loved riding my entire life... having these two horse-loving girls and a husband that supports our habit is more than I could ever dream of! Gramma Lu (Johnson) would have been so proud.”

McKenzie Aines, granddaughter of Teresa Aines, was the High Point rider and buckle winner in 8-11, besting the field of 28 riders from across Montana. A relative newcomer to O-Mok-See, McKenzie started competing in 2020. She improved enough in the first season to be ready for a ‘faster’ horse this year. Her new mount Ace, found by her mentor Cassie Johnson; is an experienced O-Mok-See horse that helped McKenzie win the Straight Barrels race and get her name in the record book! She also won the Pair Turn & Burn with partner Peyton Morel, Choteau, and placed in five of the six individual events. 

Jacob Emrich, Great Falls, who rides for the Cut Bank Saddle Club in 40+ Men, was another record setter for the Club. Jacob won the Straight Barrels and was over a second faster than second place with a 26.187. Jacob was also fourth in the Sr Men’s High Point Standings, placing in four of the six individual events compiling 310 points. 

Jacob’s father-in-law, Jay Aspevig, was also in the Sr. Men’s High Point Standings, finishing seventh overall. After missing most of 2020 due to injury, Jay had a great 2021 season. In fact, the whole Aspevig family was back in full force with three generations riding and placing at State!  

Third generation rider, Adley Emrich was Reserve Champion in Under 8. She rode Kisses, a third generation O-Mok-See horse winning three races: Speed Barrels, Pole Bending and Figure 8 Stake. Her cousin, Hailey Popelka, finished third in High Points in Under 8. Hailey placed well in six events, including sixth in Mini Pair with Adley. 

Katrina (Aspevig) Emrich summed it up this way, “It is an amazing sport that we can do with generations competing together. The O-Mok-See family is one that comes together to compete, cheer, and encourage each other. I saw a weekend where people stood for our nations flag, loaned horses because other people’s horses were hurt, and helped where they were needed to keep the show going.”

Kim Norman was third overall in 46+ Women’s. “On day one I DQ my first race, then placed very well in the other two. Sunday I was second in Pole Bending, then DQ, but finished by winning the Figure 8 Stake and the Team Arena,” recapped Kim. “My mare, Foxy, gives her all every run. She’s 18, and I’m not telling mine, but so thankful to still be competitive.”

In 12-15, Kambryn Eubanks placed in five of the six individual races on her horse Dollar, and was on the winning Team Arena Team. She represented the Montana Saddle Club Association as Junior Princess riding in parades and fund-raising over her year reign. She was fourth overall 12-15. 

In fifth, was Tansy Cassidy. She was second in Barrel and Stake and Speed Barrels and third in Figure 8 Stake. 

Durham McGowan won three races on the way to his 12-15 Reserve Championship. Pole Bending, Figure 8 Stake & Team Arena. The McGowan kids wanted to ride with their Cut Bank friends this year so made the haul over 100 miles one-way every week to O-Mok-See. His sister, Dallya, won 2 races in 16-30 Women: Western Jumping & Figure 8 Stake. Stine Decker was the winner of 16-30 Women’s Pole Bending and second in Straight Barrels helping her win third overall.

12-15 competitors Kaleb Owens and Jeremiah Swenson won the Express Rescue Race. Joshua Owens and Ray Dagel finished third.

Jack Norman won the 16-39 Men’s Speed Barrels. Brian Aspevig placed in four individual events to take fourth Overall. He and Jay were second in the Just Another Pair Race with over 50 Pairs, Jack and Jodi Norman took third.

Cut Bank Riders also had first place finishes in both Team Arena Relay races. Cut Bank’s 12-15 team of Kambryn Eubanks, Tansy Cassidy and Durham McGowan were joined by Jessa Morris from Kalispell to win their age group with 58.830. The Norman team of Doug, Kim, Jack, and Jodi had a time of 56.484 to best the field in the Adult division. The McGowan Team was third and Aspevig Team 10th.

To read the complete article, pick up a copy of this week’s issue or subscribe to the Browning Glacier Reporter, Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Shelby Promoter and The Valierian newspapers at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/

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