The History of O-Mok-See
The sport of O-Mok-See originates with the Blackfoot Indian Tribe where they
described a particular style of riding as " oh-mak-see pass-kan" meaning "riding
big dance." The second syllable of the first word is pronounced like our English
word mock. The last syllable of the second word is sounded like our can. The
Blackfeet had no written language, all we can do is render the sounds. There is
no incorrect spelling, so long as the sound is correctly presented. One might
even desire to leave the second work ( meaning dance) off entirely, and simply
make it oh-mak-see — riding big.

The Blackfeet's riding big dance was not celebrated for some fifty years. All the
old people remember it as a very striking performance. It was principally a war
ceremony. Before setting out on a mounted expedition against the enemy, the
warriors of the camp performed this dance as a part of the prelude of stirring up
courage and enthusiasm for battle. The warriors put on their finest dress
costumes, decorated and painted their best horses, carrying their war bundles,
shields, lances and bonnets. They mounted and gathered at some distance out
of sight of the camp. They turned and rode together at full speed into the great
camp circle, circled around it once and then rode to the center of the camp. In
the center were a number of old men and women who sang special songs and
beat drums for the horsemen. The horsemen then rode their trained horses to
the rhythm of the singers and drummers. From time to time the riders
dismounted and danced about on foot beside their horses, shooting in the air
and shouting to one another to be brave when the battle came. If anyone fell
from his horse during the ceremony it was considered an omen of bad luck.

O-Mok-See is more descriptive and more Western American than other names
used for the sport of pattern horse racing. O-Mok-See found its way into our
western riding vocabulary in the same manner as the Spanish-American word
rodeo. O-Mok-See, historically speaking, was coined by people who were living
here long before the Spaniards arrived with rodeo.