Horse show comes to Craig

Luke Graham

When Deana Reh realized the 40th annual National Championship O-Mok-See horse show might have to be canceled, she felt sick.

“Total defeat is the best way I can describe it,” she said. “I went into the bathroom and puked.”

The O-Mok-See horse show incorporates equestrian events from several states. The events are run in lanes and are patterned timed events. Reh said they expected more than 200 competitors from nine states.

This year’s show was supposed to take place in Vernal, Utah, but because of a last-minute scare of a viral disease in the area, the show had to be moved.

According to the USDA Web site, the disease, Vesicular Stomatitis, causes blister-like sores that form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils and hooves. These blisters swell and break, which causes so much pain that the infected animals generally refuse to eat or drink and show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss usually follows.

Reh, who is the secretary for the National Saddle Club Association, said the grounds where the show was supposed to take place were cleared of the disease, but the areas around Vernal had seen many cases.

“Two or three days before the show, we had to make a decision on whether to cancel or reschedule,” she said.

After conferring with vets in Utah, Deana Reh and her husband, Marion, the president of NSCA, decided not to take that chance.

“The grounds were fine, but it was too much of a risk,” he said.

Vets also told the Rehs that to get out of the state, the more than 200 competitors’ horses would have to have health certificates to get back to their home states.

Even with health certificates, Deana Reh said some states wouldn’t let competitors back until the virus was quarantined.

“It’s one of those things where we all could have been (in Utah) for 60 days,” she said.

With the sudden change, the Rehs were unsure whether they could put on a show.

“This is a first,” Deana Reh said. “We never had to reschedule, move or cancel. It usually takes me eight months to plan this, I thought there was no way we could do this in one day.”

But after spending a day on the phone and checking with fairgrounds from Idaho to Ohio, Marion Reh contacted the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Bill Sixkiller, the fairgrounds manager, said he had to move some events around, but he welcomed the weeklong horse show.

“This is a real good event for us,” he said. “It will bring more revenue into the community.”

One competitor was happy the event got rescheduled.

“It would have been a total disaster if it got canceled,” said Walt Werner, a competitor from Washington. “This is a beautiful facility.”

The Rehs have been extremely impressed with the Moffat County Fairgrounds and said they would like to bring the event back in the future.

“Within five hours in Craig I could tell this is a community that would support our organization,” Deana said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to work to come back here.”

The O-Mok-See horse show will start Monday and go through Friday. The event starts at 9 a.m., and admission is free to the public. Anyone interested in participating should go down to the fairgrounds before Monday or call Deana Reh at (620) 521-4545.

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