Native American Warriors Bring a Past Way-Of-Life to Modern-Day Spectators

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Tickets on sale for the 2016 All Nations Indian Relay Championships
 

Published July 7, 2016

BILLINGS, MONTANA – More than 400 years ago, the horse was an integral part of Native Americans’ daily lives and aided in a tribe’s survival. These animals were imperative for a successful buffalo hunt but were also crucial for victories in battle. The importance of this harmonious relationship has been handed down from generation to generation through oral history and, today, has developed into the most exciting and explosive competition between the Indian Nations of the Northern Plains – Indian Relay! Horse Nations intensely compete with each other throughout the summer months to earn their place at the All Nations Indian Relay Championships. www.letsrelay.com

Indian Relay appears to have developed independently in different tribes, leading to competitive relays between the nations and America’s first extreme sport. Today, Horse Nations compete against each other not in the spirit of warfare but for the native pride and “bragging rights” of the individual nations. The races are not only a demonstration of bravery, courage and amazing horsemanship but also an important connection to a historical and spiritual element of their culture.

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Wearing traditional regalia, six Native American warriors ride bareback around the track at breathtaking speeds. After each lap, riders leap from one galloping horse to another, defying fear and gravity. Three teammates stand at the edge of the track, holding the other two horses while the “mugger” waits to catch the incoming horse as the rider dismounts at a full gallop. 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.

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) was founded to promote Indian Relay, horsemanship and safety. PIHRA has developed a season-long championship series, culminating with the All Nations Indian Relay Championships. There were 17 founding teams in 2013; three years later, PIHRA membership is expected to exceed 50 teams. Only the top 30 teams are selected to attend three days of qualifying rounds to determine the six teams that will advance to the finals. Those not in the top six will battle it out during the first, second and third consolation races prior to the championship race on the final day of the Championships.

The All Nations Indian Relay Championships will be held September 22-25 at the historic MetraPark Grandstands in Billings, Mont. More than 30 elite teams representing 15 Indian nations will compete at the 2016 All Nations Championships for cash prizes and the coveted Champions’ Jackets and Buckles. The teams come from Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, and Canada. The tribes represented in relay include Oglala Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Crow, Shoshone-Bannock, Eastern Shoshone and the Colville 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.

For more information about PIHRA and the All Nations Indian Relay Championships, visit www.letsrelay.com, follow “Professional Indian Horse Racing Association” onFacebook or checkout Indian Relay videos on YouTube.

For reservations and tickets, contact the MetraPark Grandstands box office at 800-366-8538 or go to www.indianrelay.com. For press information and media kit, visitwww.adventuremedianews.com or call Nancy Harrison at 307-421-4473.

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from Native News Online, and written by Native News Online Staff. Read the original article here.