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Page 2 — 2014 Best Of

Readers pick ‘Best of’ winners The Chronicle OMAK — Each year, The Chronicle asks its readers to select their favorite businesses, service organizations and locations for honors as the “Best of” Okanogan Country. The vast area is divided into north and south areas, with the dividing line at Shellrock Point between Omak and Okanogan. Thus, everything from Omak northward and into Ferry County is in the north area, while everything from Okanogan southward plus the Methow Valley and Grand Coulee areas is in the south. Here are our readers’ picks for 2014:

Best business

North Omak Ace Hardware A Cut Above, Omak South Rawson’s Department Store, Okanogan Gebbers Farms, Brewster

Camping location

North Conconully State Park Bonaparte Lake Resort, Tonasket South Columbia Cove Park, Brewster Steamboat Rock State Park, Electric City


North Conconully area Ferry County Rail Trail South Loup Loup Pass

Skiing/snowmobiling North Sitzmark Ski Hill, Havillah Ferry County Rail Trail South Loup Loup Ski Bowl, Okanogan Methow Trails Association


Best customer service

North East Side Park, Omak Osoyoos Lake Veterans Memorial Park, Oroville South Spring Canyon Campground, Grand Coulee Alma Park, Okanogan

Entertainment venue

Community festival/event

North Choice Auto Group, Omak Omak Pharmacy South Hank’s Harvest Foods, Twisp Brewster Marketplace

North Omak Performing Arts Center Omak Stampede Arena South Delano Rodeo Grounds, Grand Coulee Coulee Dam Casino

Fishing/hunting location North Conconully Lake Palmer Lake South Banks Lake Pearrygin Lake

North Omak Stampede Tonasket Founders Day South Pateros Apple Pie Jamboree Grand Coulee Colorama

Golf course

North Oroville Golf Club

See Best of 3

Kate MacKenzie/The Chronicle

Omak’s East Side Park — with soccer and baseball fields, the Omak Stampede Arena, a walking trail, skate park and other amenities — was rated the No. 1 north end park/playground. Best Of 2014 © 2014 The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. Editor and publisher: Roger Harnack Section editor: Dee Camp Advertising manager: Teresa Myers 618 Okoma Drive P.O. Box 553 Omak, WA 98841 509-826-1110 or 800-572-3446 509-826-5819 fax

Pete Peterson !

2014 Best Of — Page 3* Deep Bay Park, Oroville South Brewster Grand Coulee Dam Festival of America


North Peppertree Inn, Omak Omak Inn South Howard’s on the River, Pateros Center Lodge, Grand Coulee

Automobile services Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Fireworks light up the sky over Brewster on the Fourth of July 2014. The show was rated best for the south area.


Best of from 2 South Gamble Sands, Brewster Okanogan Valley Golf Club, Omak

The Chronicle

Apple pies wait to go into the oven. for the Pateros Apple Pie Jamboree, the top south end community festival/event.

North Sunrise Chevrolet, Omak RDL Auto Services, Tonasket South Valley Transmission, Okanogan Les Schwab, Grand Coulee

Financial institution

North Molson School/Old Molson Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site, Republic South Okanogan County Historical Society, Okanogan Pateros City Museum

North North Cascades Bank, Omak Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union, Omak South North Cascades Bank, Okanogan Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union, Brewster and Grand Coulee (tie)

Scenic view

Real estate

North Omak Lake Chopaka area South Washington Overlook/Liberty Bell Crown Point above Coulee Dam

Fireworks show North East Side Park, Omak

Pass Grand

North Re/Max Welcome Home, Omak Upper Valley Realty, Tonasket South Foisy and Kennedy, Grand Coulee The Land Company, Brewster


North BluElephant Photography, Omak

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Washington Pass Overlook offers the best scenic view in the south area. Leeshy Lou Photography, Omak South Tim Patrick Photography, Okanogan Dennis King Photography, Coulee Dam

Pet grooming/ sitting

North Joey’s Bark and Bath, Omak Doggie in the Window, Tonasket South Heather’s Dog Grooming, Okanogan Methow Valley Veterinary Hospital, Winthrop

Beauty salon/barber

North Expressions, Omak A Cut Above Hair, Flowers and More, Omak South Giddy Up Salon and Spa, Okanogan Divine Salon, Brewster

Floral shop TeAire Baier

The Grand Coulee Dam Middle School Band marches in the 2014 Colorama parade. The festival was named the No. 2 south end community festival/event.

North A Cut Above Hair, Flowers and More, Omak Wild Rose Floral Design, Tonasket South Derina’s Flower Basket,

Okanogan Seaton’s Grove Greenhouse, Coulee Dam

Law practice

North Gunn Law Offices, Omak Robert Flock, Omak South Smith and Derting, Okanogan Reinbold and Gardner, Okanogan


North Kruse Electric, Omak Ty Olson Construction, Tonasket South Pete Peterson Plumbing, Okanogan

School district

North Omak School District Curlew School District South Okanogan School District Brewster School District

Fire department

North Omak Fire Department Tonasket Fire Department South Okanogan Fire Department Malott Fire Department See

Best 4

Page 4 — 2014 Best Of

Best from 3

Loepp Furniture, Grand Coulee

Antique/second hand store

Civic organization

North Omak-Okanogan Civic League Blue Star Mothers South Okanogan-Omak Rotary Club Okanogan Kiwanis Club

North Grandma’s Attic, Omak South The Farm Shed, Okanogan Grand Coulee Senior Center



North Gene’s Harvest Foods, Omak Safeway, Omak South Hank’s Harvest Foods, Twisp Coulee Dam Harvest Foods

North Omak Feed and Supply North 40 Outfitters, Omak South Washington Tractor, Okanogan Brewster Ace Hardware

Convenience store

North Tribal Trails, Omak Riverside Grocery South Howard’s on the River-Super Stop, Pateros H&H Grocery, Electric City

Clothing/shoe store

North Dave’s Gun and Pawn, Riverside North 40 Outfitters, Omak South Two Eagle, Okanogan Okanogan Arms, Okanogan

Mid-Valley Hospital, Omak, got Chronicle readers’ nod as the north end’s best medical facility. J.C. Penney, Omak South Rawson’s Department Store, Okanogan LaModa, Brewster


North Grandma’s Attic, Omak


Dee Camp/The Chronicle


The Prickly Pear, Omak Peace Cafe, Omak South Sweet T’s Unique Gifts and Clothing, Brewster Ulrich Pharmacy, Twisp

Hardware/lumber North Omak Ace Hardware Home Depot, Omak South Valley Lumber, Okanogan Brewster Ace Hardware


North Cramer’s, Omak. Aaron’s, Omak South Webster Furniture, Brewster

See Best of 5

Coulee Dam Federal Credit Union sends a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us in the “Best Of” contest. We appreciate your support and want you to know that we consider it a great privilege to serve our community! Omak Branch

Roger Harnack/The Chronicle

Honorable Mention North Okanogan Country

The Conconully area is Chronicle readers’ favorite trails area for the north end.

Coulee Dam Branch Honorable Mention South Okanogan Country

Brewster Branch Honorable Mention South Okanogan Country

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2014 Best Of — Page 5*

Best of from 4

South Family Medical Centers, Brewster Coulee Medical Center, Grand Coulee, and Three Rivers Hospital, Brewster (tie)

Electronics/ Internet

North PC Nut Hut, Omak NCI Datacom, Omak South CenturyLink Swift-stream


North Grillo-Robeck Dental, Omak Gary Bramer, Omak South Brewster Dental Clinic Chase Family Dentistry, Okanogan


North Choice Auto Group, Omak Sunrise Chevrolet, Omak South Best Deals, Brewster Jess Ford, Grand Coulee


North Omak Eye and Ear Clinic Dr. Paul Hartkorn, Omak South Gillespie Eye Care, Brewster Gillespie Eye Care, Grand Coulee

Recreation/off-road vehicles

North Omak Marine C.J. Cycle, Tonasket South Xtreme PowerSports, Okanogan Washington Tractor, Okanogan

North Mid-Valley Hospital, Omak Confluence Health, Oroville


North Papa Murphy’s, Omak Hometown Pizza, Oroville South The Club Sports Bar and Grill, Okanogan Twisp River Pub, Twisp


North Rancho Chico, Omak The Breadline Cafe, Omak South Howard’s on the River, Pateros Los Camperos, Brewster





North Alpine Veterinary Clinic, Omak Omak Animal Hospital South Okanogan Valley Veterinary Clinic, Okanogan Methow Valley Veterinary Clinic, Twisp


North Omak Pharmacy Rite Aid, Omak South Okanogan Valley Pharmacy, Okanogan Safeway, Grand Coulee

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Omak Lake was cited by Chronicle readers as the No. 1 scenic view for the north end.

North RockWall Cellars, Omak Republic Brewing Co. South Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop Lost River Winery, Winthrop

North Sit’n Bull Saloon and Cafe, Conconully The Kuhler, Okanogan South The Club Sports Bar and Grill, Okanogan Electric City Bar and Grill and Kodi’s Noon Saloon, Pateros (tie)

Roger Harnack/The Chronicle

Okanogan-Omak Rotary Club, the south end’s top civic organization, hosts a wine and cheese tasting, above, each year. Okanogan Kiwanians Richard Johnson, left, and Joe Simonsen flip pancakes for the south’s No. 2 civic organization, as rated by Chronicle readers.

Espresso/coffee Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Conconully State Park takes the award as the top camping location for the north end.

North Country Cabin Espresso, Omak Coffee Express Espresso, Omak, and The Pumphouse, Omak (tie) South Freebird, Okanogan Blue Star Coffee Roasters, Twisp

Republic Brewing Company !

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Page 6 — 2014 Best Of

Ace named best business for north The Chronicle OMAK – Omak Ace Hardware, the north end’s overall best business, as rated by Chronicle readers, places high value on its customers and its employees. “I am very honored by this award,” owner Gregg Grattan said. “I want to be sure we thank all our customers for supporting our local store during these highly competitive times. “This couldn’t happen without their support of our small business.” The store has been in the Grattan family for several years – his parents, Mike and Jody, operated the store before him. The business has been at two Main Street locations and, for the past 13 years, has been at 661 Riverside Drive. “Knowledgeable employees and loyal customers” are the key to the store’s success, Office Manager Amanda Dickinson said. The store earned a five-star rating on the Yelp website: “Omak Ace Hardware is always well stocked and the employees are so friendly and helpful,” reviewer

... always well stocked and the employees are so friendly and helpful. Yelp reviewer Donald H.

” Donald H., of Homer, Alaska, wrote. “This store should come to the north Oregon/south Washington coast and give seminars on good customer service.” Omak Ace Hardware has eight employees and offers a full line of hardware – from paint to housewares, plumbing supplies, lighting and tools — plus Pop Shoppe beverages, a UPS drop site and custom keys.

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Omak Ace Hardware is the top north end business, Chronicle readers said in “Best of” voting.

We enjoy caring for our communities.

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2014 Best Of — Page 7*



The Chronicle

Pearrygin Lake, near Winthrop, is Chronicle readers’ pick for the No. 2 best fishing/hunting location in the south area. The lake sports a state park, which was closed part of last summer because of the Carlton Complex fire, which burned nearby. The park itself was not burned.

Thank you to everyone who voted for us as Best Farm Supply Store. We appreciate your business and loyalty. We sell many Made In America products. Locally owned and operated. A REAL FEED STORE!

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Page 8 — 2014 Best Of

Photographer concentrates on newborns Omak woman cited as top photo business in ‘Best of’ By Al Camp The Chronicle OMAK – Nicole Allen, owner of BluElephant Photography, enjoys location photography and especially doing newborn images. Her photo business was named by Chronicle readers as the best photography business in the north area. “My biggest passion is newborn photography,” said Allen, 25. “When I started, I just took pictures of anything that came my way. After my first newborn

session, I immediately fell in love with it. I knew that was something I wanted to focus on and specialize in.” Allen enjoys the arts. “I’ve always been a creative soul,” she said. “Ever since I can remember, I was designing, crafting, doing some little thing like decorating a room, something that could feed that creative side.” She’s been in a long-term relationship with Ruben Vela, who has a 12-year-old daughter. The trio often does things together like day trips and Allen would capture it with an inexpensive camera. “My camera had no quality whatsoever,” she said. “I wanted

See Photo 9

Nicole Allen/BluElephant Photography

BluElephant Photography owner Nicole Allen’s sister, Gillian Allen and her daughter, Elaina McDonald, show Allen’s passion for photographing newborns and families.

Family Operated, Family Oriented

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509-486-2828 • 615 Bonaparte Lake Rd., Tonasket, WA 98855


Sit ’N Bull




509-826-2947 • Downtown Conconully









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2014 Best Of — Page 9*

Photo from 8 better pictures.” So a few years back, she bought a digital camera as a Christmas present. She also began taking online classes and doing trips with other photographers. “I started playing with light, playing with subjects,” she said. “I’m Allen always learning every day. I’m still taking classes.” She started BluElephant Photography, which has special meaning to her, January 2013. “I get asked that a lot” about the name, Allen said. “When I was a little kid, the first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy elephant. I told everybody that. When I was thinking of launching the business, I wanted to incorporate a piece of me.” Her specially designed logo incorporates a small, blue elephant. The “born and raised” in Omak photographer also enjoys taking her studio to the customer. “Most of my photos are outdoors,” she said. “I use several different places. I went around town, scouted different locations that have good lighting so I can provide different options to people.” She lives north of Omak with a barn and a small aspen grove available for photos. October is her busiest time of the year, with many people wanting family portraits with fall color. The mages often grace Christmas cards, which she’s creating for people now. “Ruben is definitely not a fan of October because I am busy,” she said. “I remind him his hunting season is like my October. He likes to hunt. He usually is gone every

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Nicole Allen

” chance he can get.” Allen also uses as models a 6month old niece, Elaina McDonald, and a friend’s two young children. A full-time worker with Weinstein Beverages, she gets to travel a lot and sees many other potential backdrops as she makes deliveries around the vast county. She’s also been asked about doing wedding photography. “I am not really a wedding photographer,” she said. “I’ve done a few weddings, but my heart is not really there. I limit them to one or two a year. I like the relaxed atmosphere with a newborn, or the fun atmosphere I get with the family. “Maternity, family, newborn, that’s more my specialty,” she said. “Love everything we have done with Nicole,” wrote Summer Mastey Baker on Allen’s business Facebook page. “Nicole is so talented and you can tell she loves being behind the camera. She is great with kids,” Hillary Park wrote. Allen says she’s learned a lot through a mentor, Denoya Gomez, who operates Love Lola in Selah. “I met her at a photography shoot out in Wenatchee,” Allen said. “A bunch of photographers met, had a scene set up and we just photographed the scene together, kind of hung out.” Images of Allen’s work can be seen online at www.bluelephant

Nicole Allen/BluElephant Photography

Cinthya Ibarra leaps into the air in a BluElephant Photography image.

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Page 10 — 2014 Best Of



Gamble Sands, a new golf course near Brewster off state Highway 17, has won the nod from Chronicle readers as the south area’s top golf course. The 18hole course, which also features a restaurant, opened in early August.

Al Camp/The Chronicle

Thank you for your “Best Of” votes. We appreciate your confidence in our work.

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Attorney at Law

2014 Best Of — Page 11

Club picked for south end honors By Dee Camp The Chronicle OKANOGAN – The Club Sports Bar and Grill is a Best of winner in two south end categories – best bar/ tavern and best pizza/burgers. The bar’s philosophy is to treat customers “like they’re in your own home,” owner Connie Fox said. In the three years she’s owned the bar, 125 Pine Street, she said she’s tried to make it a comfortable, friendly place for people to eat, have a beer, visit and watch sports on TV. Immediately after receiving her two “Best of” certificates, Fox posted a photo of them on the bar’s Facebook page. The post quickly attracted 59 “likes” and several comments. “Best place to watch the Hawks,” wrote Issac Sanchez. “Awesome! Congratulations, Connie and crew,” wrote Michie Burdett. Fox said she’s grateful for her customers and crew, and that the bar has attracted both new and loyal customers, and a growing lunch crowd. The Club is housed in a centuryold building, with part of the original bar still in place. For many years, it had the reputation around town as a dive, with a somewhat seedy clientele. But that’s changed, with the past couple owners cleaning it up, doing some remodeling and attracting a different crowd. What does it take to be a successful bar and burger joint? “Good service, personal people,” Fox said. “We spend a lot of hours doing it. Good customers. We’ve got some pretty loyal and good customers.” She said she gets chills at “hearing people laugh and converse.”

Al Camp/The Chronicle

The Club Sports Bar and Grill offers plenty of seating, sports memorabilia and TV sets for watching sports. Besides the TV-watchers, the bar has attracted a cadre of cribbage players. She’s not sure if she inherited the “crib” group that used to frequent the now-closed Cariboo Inn or if hers is a different bunch. They don’t have tournaments or anything formal, but the group gets

together – usually in the evening – to play the card-and-pegs game. Others come in like clockwork for sports, especially Seahawks games. Some have regular tables. The food attracts others. “We have very good hamburgers,” Fox said. The patties are handmade daily

and the fries are fresh cut. “We have toppings that people like,” she said, adding that she strives to use the freshest ingredients possible. Burgers are named for sports teams, so people can a Pioneer, a Bulldog or a Tiger. Toppings range from ham, Swiss cheese and

teriyaki mayo to jalapeno, pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo. The Club also offers a variety of sandwiches, steaks and grilled chicken, plus evening specials such as taco Tuesday, steak Wednesday and prime rib Friday.

Hair Design, Day Spa and Tanning

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Page 12 — 2014 Best Of

Construction firm wins readers’ votes The Chronicle HAVILLAH – Ty and Kathy Olson have built a business that has won them recognition as the best north end contracting service by Chronicle readers. From structural construction to septic systems, excavation work and concrete setting, Ty Olson Construction has been serving the area for more than a decade. T. Olson The Olsons have a way with connecting with their customers, something Kathy said she believe makes their business especially strong. “Ty and I always laugh, we can butt heads a lot, but we’re both talented in our own wheelhouses,” Kathy Olson said. Ty manages his crew of six with the hands on work, while Kathy manages the bookwork, finances and keeps in constant contact with

their customers. “I think we’ve got a real personal touch,” Olson said. “I’m constantly on the phone with clients, sending emails and pictures. They really want to feel like they’re a part of the work. We’re not a huge company, but there’s a lot of other companies that just don’t have the ability to always pick up the phone.” After a fire that destroyed their Tonasket office in 2008, the Olsons relocated their business to their home and said the company continues to grow and gain new services. “We’ve always done a lot of commercial and residential work,” she said. But “in the last two or three years, we’ve pretty much done residential work.” Aside from stick-built, log and timber-framed commercial and residential structures, the Olsons also offer concrete services. “There are some other concrete contractors in the valley, but our standard of quality is pretty superb,” she said. Custom-stamped concrete is a specialty, creating a unique design

Company gets a top rating from the Better Business Bureau

We’re not a huge company, but there’s a lot of other companies that just don’t have the ability to always pick up the phone. Kathy Olson

for patios, porches and walkways. “I think that’s one of the services we provide that’s really neat.” Site preparation and road building are also offered, along with septic system installations and pre-engineered steel buildings. Olson said they strive to provide top customer service to the local community as well as newcomers to the valley. “People buy property and move to the area,” she said, adding the

Thank you to all of our customers for their continued support and for voting us Best Of for 2014!

Thank you for voting us Best Of Law Practice

customers are able to stay with their business through the entire construction process as the foundation is poured, the home is built and utilities are installed. Kathy Olson said the future is bright as they continue to network with past, current and new customers. “I would (like to) thank a lot of clients and customer for voting,” she said. “We really appreciate it. We’re flattered.”

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SPOKANE — Ty Olson Construction has earned an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, according to the bureau’s website. “BBB has determined that Ty Olson Construction Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints,” the BBB said. “BBB accredited businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.” The business is located at 93 Warren Road, Tonasket. —The Chronicle

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2014 Best Of — Page 13

Joey’s Bark and Bath is a winner Cats and dogs get heated cages, plenty of pampering The Chronicle OMAK – For nearly 16 years Joey Wilson has been grooming, clipping and bathing furry, four-legged creatures from across the valley. This year Wilson received her sixthstraight award from Chronicle readers voting Joey’s Bark and Bath the best professional pet grooming and boarding service in north Okanogan Country. “This year in December, I will be here 16years,” Wilson said. “It’s not a job, (because) I love animals.” Joey’s Bark and Bath, 201 S. Main St., features full pet amenities. Heated cages, pampering, grooming, nail clipping and bathing dogs are among her specialties. But her business is not only for the dogs. “I’ve always liked animals, dogs in particular,” she said. “I’m the only one that grooms cats,” she said noting felines are a bit trickier than dogs to control on the table. Fancy, custom cuts, along with standard pet shavings are offered, too. Wilson started her grooming business because of her passion for animals. She claims her customers can see her passion in their pets’ eyes. “My motto is ‘Where pets go home happy,’” she said. “People trust me with their animals.” Wilson sees hundreds of cats and dogs throughout the year and said her clientele continues to grow. “I have loyal customers,” she said. “(But) I get new customers all the time,” she said noting recent visitors have traveled from as far away as Colville and Nespelem. Wilson said she has seen several pets and their owners “grow up,” and saying goodbye is the hardest part of the job. “That the only thing that strikes,” she said. Wilson credits her customers for her receiving the “Best of” awards because, “they know their animals are safe in my care.”

Brock Hires/The Chronicle

Joey Wilson runs a comb through the fur of a four-legged customer. Readers named her grooming business the top pet grooming and boarding service for the north end.

Dr. Lesamiz, Dr. Kralik and staff want to say Thank you for sharing your pets with us!

Page 14 — 2014 Best Of

Stampede: Top event, popular venue Readers pick event as No. 1 community festival for north, runner-up location By Dee Camp The Chronicle OMAK – The name says Omak Stampede, but the event – named by Chronicle readers as the north area’s best community festival or event – is more than just a rodeo. Stampede, scheduled for Aug. 13-16, 2015, does include “a fantastic rodeo,” but there’s so much more for fans to do that weekend, Office Manager Sarah Grooms said. “We’ve always tried really hard to put on an event that’s second to none,” she said. “It’s a good venue and there are lots of things to do.” Besides the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo, Stampede weekend offers the Suicide Race, a carnival, Colville tribal encampment, art show, vendors and plenty of fun, she said. The rodeo has suffered a few bumps in the past few years, including an inconsistent sound system in the six-year-old arena and lower attendance this year because of the Carlton Complex fire. “The sound system will be changed,” Grooms said. Stampede has hired a sound technician for next year’s rodeo and the city, which owns the arena, is considering upgrades to the sound system. East Side Park, where the arena is located, was used as a fire camp until just before the rodeo. Firefighters moved to the Okanogan County Fairgrounds,

See Stampede 15


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Dee Camp/The Chronicle

The south stands of the Omak Stampede Arena are nearly filled in advance of a Saturday night rodeo. The arena can seat 8,000 people.

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2014 Best Of — Page 15

Stampede from 14

and the city and Stampede quickly made the park ready for Omak’s biggest event of the year. “I didn’t know if we’d be able to pull it off with the fires,” Stampede President George Dunckel said. Attendance this year was “abnormally low,” Grooms said, and Stampede officials attribute that to the fires. They’re hoping to bounce back next year. “We’ve got a lot of really great rodeo fans,” Grooms said. “Rodeo fans are really loyal.” Many people come back year after year, including a woman who has attended every rodeo for the past 60 years and another who comes each year from England. Others come from Okanogan County, all over Washington, Canada and several other countries. One group of about 80 came from Canada. “They spent the whole weekend. They used it as their family reunion spot,” Grooms said. While tradition plays a big role in the rodeo, which began in 1933, people also can expect some changes. “We’re so diversified in what we have to offer, that’s the key,” she said. Stampede has hired a new entertainment act, Idahoan Kaiser Stoddard, who has four horses and does four different acts. PRCA itself also is making changes to make its sanctioned rodeos better, and the Stampede board is making some internal changes. “The community is still supporting us,” she said. “We want them to be proud of what we’re doing. We don’t want people to be disappointed.” Chronicle readers also named the Stampede Arena, 421 Stampede Drive E., as the No. 2 entertainment venue for the north area.

Concerts, car shows — the sky’s the limit on what we can put in here. Sarah Grooms

” “There’s nothing we can’t do in this facility,” Grooms said. “Concerts, car shows – the sky’s the limit on what we can put in here.” Along with equestrian events and rodeos, the arena has been used for truck races, demolition derby, a fur trappers’ rendezvous and quinceaneras. Groups can rent the whole arena or portions of it, including the beer garden areas. With seating for 8,000, it’s among the larger outdoor venues in the state. Another change on the horizon is the planned addition of a Stampede museum. Three former rodeo board members have formed a non-profit organization, acquired land and plan to break ground in the spring on a new museum along Omak Avenue next to the Stampede Apartments. “I think it’s fabulous,” Grooms said. “I’m glad they made that commitment.” Stampede has tried for years to put away money for a museum, but budgets have been running thin so not much gets put toward the project. The organization has, however, socked away “roomfuls of memorabilia,” from jackets, banners and booster buttons to photographs, posters and programs, she said.

Al Camp/The Chronicle

Stampede offers rough-and-tumble action, including the 2014 addition of ranch saddle bronc riding.

We would like to thank our community for voting us Best Of Auto Repair in South County for 2014.

Valley Auto Repair 509-689-3404 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. October-April • 6 a.m.-11 p.m. May-September Visit us on Highway 97 • Brewster •

669 2nd Ave. S., Okanogan 509-422-4613

Page 16 — 2014 Best Of

Sunrise lauded by for top service The Chronicle OMAK – With between 800 to 1,000 vehicle service jobs each month, it’s no surprise Chronicle readers voted Sunrise Chevrolet the best automobile service in the north region. Service Manager John Jochems said he believes readers voted for Sunrise because of the company’s honest, moral ethics. Jason Bernica has been Jochems manager of the business for seven years, since October 2007. Jochems said the company strives to perform automotive tuneup in a flawless, timely manner, but should they make a mistake or oversight, they own up to their flaws. “We’re not perfect,” Jochems said. “But we’ll admit to our wrongs.” He said all customers – whether new or returning – are treated with utmost respect and dignity. “Everyone that walks through the door is family,” he said. Receiving the award “says we take care of our customers.” Sunrise offers a full range of services including oil changes, tire rotations, brakes and batteries, along with multi-point inspections. “We service all makes and models,” he said. Jochems said the service department employs 10 people, all of whom are GM-certified technicians. From 2009 to 2013, Sunrise Chevrolet received the winning Chronicle votes for the best car dealership in north Okanogan County; this year is its first win for

Brock Hires/The Chronicle

Larry Graves changes the oil on a vehicle at the Sunrise Chevrolet service shop at 726 Okoma Drive in Omak. best automotive service. While a regular base of local customers comes through their doors daily, Jochems said the shop is constantly getting new customers

from as far away as Spokane, Wenatchee and Grand Coulee. Sunrise Chevrolet is an authorized Chevy and Buick dealer. The vehicle sales also boast

customer races, too, coming in second place this year for the “Best of” car dealerships in north country. “Did an amazing job finding us a vehicle with a great deal,” Bethany

Z. wrote on Facebook. “Thank you so much. “Bought my beautiful car,” Whitney B. wrote on Facebook. “I love my car.”

Thank you for voting Heather’s Dog Grooming #1 in Pet Grooming for South County 2014!

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Book now for the holidays! Gift Certificates Available Come see us in downtown Okanogan! 115 2nd Ave. S., Okanogan 509-826-5541

2014 Best Of — Page 17



The Ferry County Rail Trail crosses Curlew Lake north of Republic in Ferry County. The trail, built on an abandoned railroad right of way, was named by Chronicle readers as the No. 2 north area trails area and skiing/ snowboarding venue.

Bob Whittaker

Honored to be voted “Best Of” for North and South Okanogan County

1-800-603-9342 Member FDIC

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*Page 18 — 2014 Best Of

Sweet T’s: The man cave evolves Shop offers eclectic mix of gifts, food, sports-related items The Chronicle BREWSTER – Sweet T’s started out as a man cave, but it’s evolved into a gift and variety shop offering an eclectic mix of merchandise. Chronicle readers recognized the store, at 400 W. Indian Ave., as the south end’s top gift/jewelry store. Owner Shan Miller said she initially didn’t recognize what the award meant, but when people started congratulating her, she realized it is a big deal. Sweet T’s started three years ago as a man cave supply store for her son, Miller Taylor, to operate. He’s since moved on, but she’s found a niche at the store. She still offers items to outfit a man cave – from sports decorations to hunting — and fishing-related items – but also offers a variety of other things, many of them produced locally or elsewhere in the Northwest. “I work really, really hard at trying to find things that are unique,” she said. Her shelves and displays are bursting with everything from lip gloss made by a 13-year-old Wenatchee girl to rubber duckie soap from Seattle, a game called Burble from Portland, chocolatecovered toffee from Oregon, crocheted hats for infants and “12th dog” Seahawks-themed bandanas for canines.

Shan Miller

Duke the dog, described by owner Shan Miller as her “sidekick,” waits for customers outside Sweet T’s, the south end’s top gift shop. Signs are popular, as are cup caddies, bottle openers, locally made cribbage boards, goofy hats, purses, watches, garden supplies, toiletries, local honey and candles that gutter like a fireplace because of their wooden wicks. She also offers a rack of used clothing.

“We do a ton in signs and Western stuff,” Miller said. One of the best compliments is that the store attracts both regulars and a steady flow of new customers, she said. She keeps a guest book at the front counter, with several out-of-state visitors

LAKESHORE INN • RIVER’S RESTAURANT • THE SUPER STOP 233 Lakeshore Drive, Pateros, WA 98846 | 1.877.923.9555 | 509.923.2200

among the recent signers. Many newcomers stop at the door and say, “Oh, my gosh,” she said. “I tell them they can’t see it all in 15 minutes.” She also has a variety of friends, high school students and relatives who stop in to chat and pitch in to

help. Miller, who also manages the Brewster and Bridgeport pools during the summer, has been involved several other retail operations. “I’m blessed. Wherever I go, it seems to work,” she said.

2014 Best Of — Page 19



Dee Camp/The Chronicle

Omak Performing Arts Center Foundation

Dee Camp/The Chronicle

The Omak Performing Arts Center, 14 S. Cedar St., as picked by readers as the top entertainment venue for the north area. The theater, owned by the Omak School District and part of the middle school campus, is home to a variety of entertainment. In the spring of 2014, the Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus staged “The Wizard of Oz,” above. The orchestra also presents its concerts, left, in the theater. The Wailin’ Jennys, far left, will perform Dec. 6 to kick off the center’s 25th anniversary year in 2015.

Page 20 — 2014 Best Of

Sit’n Bull named north’s best bar The Chronicle CONCONULLY – Chronicle readers have cast their votes naming the Sit’n Bull Saloon and Cafe, nestled among rolling hills and pristine recreation land, the best bar/tavern in north area. The Sit’n Bull, 308 N. Main St., has been a fixture in town for nearly two-decades under the ownership of Sylvia Scott. During tourism season, the establishment serves as a hub for locals, travelers and outdoors enthusiasts to relax, and have a drink and bite to eat. General Manager Cynthia Case said loyal customers and tourists claim they are in for a surprise when they stop by the establishment. “Some of them (customers), I think, are a little bit surprised,” Case said. “They think they are coming to a bar to get a greasy burger, but we’ve raised our standards above and beyond that.” The saloon is all full-scale restaurant, too. “We have really good prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays, and awesome burgers,” Case said. “Burgers probably come in second to the prime rib.” Case said she attributes the award to the continued consistency of the food and drinks served, as well competitive pricing. Customers often say its “really good food,” she said. “Some will say that it’s the best they’ve ever had.” “I would say consistency of our food being good, and good prices” make customers return, she said. The establishment employs 12 people through the winter months, but Case said during tourism season the bar can see upwards of 25 employees. An estimated “several thousand” customers walk through


The Chronicle

Folks gathered for the 2014 Conconully Outhouse Races to watch a camera-equipped drone outside the Sit’n Bull Saloon and Cafe. the doors each year, with the majority being tourists. “You get the tourists and the people that come up here to camp and fish, with all the different seasons,” she said. “We also draw the locals from Omak and

Okanogan.” Case said a lot of customers come to Conconully for an afternoon drive and just for dinner, while some of the local resorts refer their guests to their restaurant and bar.

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“I know that a couple of the other businesses are really good about referring people that stay at the resort,” she said. “That kind of helps,” she said, noting the Sit’n Bull is one of a couple restaurants in town.

“Thank you for your business,” she said. “Keep on coming back and seeing us. “We appreciate their business and we appreciate that they feel that great about the food they’re getting.”

Best of .... 2014  

Chronicle readers' picks for the best businesses, services, entertainment and recreational spots in Okanogan Country

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