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Marysville's Clements helps rescue Suicide Race riders
by Roger Harnack
Special to The Marysville Globe
OMAK, Wash. — Three of the region's top watercraft riders pulled four World-Famous Suicide Race competitors to shore Thursday night, Aug. 11, plucking them from the fast-moving Okanogan River.
Jet Skiers Terry Tonasket of Omak, Angela Clements of Marysville and Roger Harnack of Riverside joined Colville Tribal Police and the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office for the Suicide Race's swift-water rescue team. In the annual Suicide Race, tribal riders and their horses race down a steep bluff, across the fast-flowing Okanogan River and finish with a sprint into the Omak Stampede Arena.
Watercraft rescuers were added this year due to high, fast water. And in Thursday night's after-dark race, four riders were unhorsed in the current.
Tonasket a world-record holder in slalom watercross racing -- and Clements each grabbed one rider; while Harnack snared two. Clements and Harnack also race watercraft.
Tribal and sheriff's vessels assisted the horses back to shore safely as the watercraft team located the uninjured riders.
Twenty horses and riders qualified to compete in this year's event.
There are three more Suicide races this weekend, with Friday's and Saturday's races taking place after dark and Sunday's race in the early evening.