Published September 1, 2018
BLACKFOOT, Idaho– Its fair time in Blackfoot, Idaho and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes host the annual National Indian Relay Championship races this Sunday, September 2nd at the Eastern Idaho State Fair (EISF) race track in Blackfoot, Idaho. Relay teams annually compete for the National Indian Relay Championship title and over $30,000 purse. This year, 21 teams are registered to race throughout five of the seven days of the state fair and include the Indian Relay, a Chiefs race, a Ladies race, a Warriors race, and new this year is the Ladies Relay race, as well as, consolation and championship.
The Indian Relay Races are a centuries-old tradition of Native American horse culture that has its roots right here in Fort Hall, Idaho. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are the first tribe to formalize the horse sport into what it is today. This fierce bareback horse races feature multiple qualifying heats of 21 teams of riders vying for National championship held annually in conjunction with the Eastern Idaho State Fair. Each team must use three different horses in the relay. These daring riders must jump off a horse while still on the run and then run to mount the next horse — without assistance — to continue a lap around the track. One missed switch, fall, or loose horse can take a team from first to disqualification in an instant.
Injuries are not uncommon, since dismounting a moving horse and running to the next is filled with risk. These daring races, which are also highly competitive and dangerous, demonstrate physical skill and teamwork among the riders, the horses and their team members. Each relay team will have a selected team color so make sure to purchase the relay schedule at the fairgrounds and support your favorite team.
Indian Relay Races will have four (4) heats that will run after the 4th, 6th & 8th pari-mutuel race (subject to change). The Indian Relay schedule is as follows:
Sunday, August 31 – Chief race & Indian Relay Races
Chiefs Race after 4th, heat 1 after 6th and heat 2 & heat 3 after the 8th pari-mutuel races.
Monday, September 1- Ladies race & Indian Relay
Tuesday & Wednesday– BREAK, no races on these two days. On Wednesday, Sept 5th the Osborne family is hosting an All-Indian Relay Team Appreciation Dinner at the 6PM for Relay teams & families at the Fort Hall Pavilion in Fort Hall.
Thursday, September 4 – Warrior race & Indian Relay
No pari-mutuel races today, FREE admission into the pari-mutuel racetrack. Relays start at 12′ noon back to back races
Friday, September 5 – Indian Relay Races
Heat 1 after the 4th, heat 2 after the 6th and heat 3 after the 8th pari-mutuel races.
Saturday, September 6 – Ladies Relay; Consolation Race; Championship Race
Ladies race after 4th, Consolation after the 6th, Championship after the 8th pari-mutuel races.
Admission to the Pari-mutuel Horse Racing and Indian Relays cost is $4 per person. For more information visit the Tribes Indian Relay page online at www.sbtribes.com/shoshone-bannock-relay-races.html or call Indian Relay Committee for more information at 208-251-7785 or 208-244-4726.