There’s still time to pre-purchase tickets and packages to the sporting event of the season
Published September 11 , 2015
BILLINGS, MONTANA — In one week’s time, Indian Relay teams and fans will converge at the Billings MetraPark Grandstands for four days of relay excitement at the third annual All Nations Indian Relay Championships. Indian relay teams from across the country have battled throughout the season for points to qualify for this championship event; on Sept. 17-20, 2015, teams will go head-to-head in front of a record-breaking crowd to earn the title of All Nations Champions.
Indian Relays Explained
Indian Relay appears to have developed independently in different tribes more than 400 years ago, leading to competitive relays between the nations and America’s first extreme sport. Today, Horse Nations wear traditional regalia and compete for native pride, demonstrating bravery, courage and amazing horsemanship as well as a spiritual connection to their celebrated culture.
Each relay team consists of one rider, three horses, and three courageous teammates who hold, catch, and control the horses as the rider leaps from one bareback pony to another, making a single circuit of the track on each horse. This is an intense relay race where the rider is the baton! During the exchange, horses may rear up, flip or getaway and the incoming horse may or may not stop – it often becomes a classic case of organized mayhem, where one minor error can drastically change the outcome of the race. Once spectators witness this, they feel an intense excitement they never get with any other sport; this is why Indian Relay fans come back year after year.
All Nations Indian Relay Championships
Relay teams from 15 Horse Nations will compete for more than $75,000 in cash, travel, advance and prizes and the coveted Champions’ jackets and buckles. The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) just announced that up to 36 teams will be invited to compete this year – the most to ever compete in the Championships. These elite teams must battle each day to earn a spot in the season-ending Championship race Sunday, Sept. 20.
The teams come from Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Canada. The tribes represented in relay include Oglala Lakota Sioux, Blackfeet, Crow, Shoshone-Bannock, Eastern Shoshone, the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Umatilla Confederated Tribes. The vision of the teams and the entire membership is for relay to become a viable cultural and economic entity on the reservations.
The following teams have already qualified for the Championships: Aimsback, Awasapsii Express, Bad War Deeds, Blanket Bull, Blue Moon, Brew Crew, Carlson, Dolphus Racing, Good Rider, Grizzly Mountain, Grows Well, Holds the Enemy, Lakota War Path, Marshand, Mean River, Medicine Horse, Medicine Tail, Old Elk Relay, Omak Express, Plain Feather, Pukuni Express, Rides a Pretty Horse, Red Tail Hawk, Star Flat, Starr School, Umatilla Express, Warman, White Calf and Young Money.
In addition to the teams that automatically qualify, other teams may fill out an application and, if approved by the racing committee, will be entered into the lottery. Go towww.letsrelay.com for applications and details.
As if the main relay event wasn’t thrilling enough, spectators will also get to watch three other exciting and entertaining races every day – Indian Warriors’ Race, Indian Ladies’ Race and Kids’ Indian Relay – each culminating with its own Championship race on Sunday. Veteran Indian Relay announcers Kennard Real Bird and Randy Taylor will elevate this event with running commentary for all relay races.
The All Nations Indian Relay Championships will also highlight Native American culture through traditional food, artisan booths as well as a dancing and drumming introduction to each race event and during intermissions. This is an exciting cultural and sporting event second to none. Get ready to experience America’s first extreme sport as the Horse Nations of the Northern Plains have practiced for centuries.
- For reservations and tickets, contact the MetraPark Grandstands box office at 800-366-8538 or go to www.letsrelay.com.
- For press information and media kit, visit www.adventuremedianews.com or call Nancy Harrison at 307.421.4473.
- For event information and sponsorships contact Kris Keck at 908.303.5137.
- “Let’s Relay!”