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Championships For America’s First Extreme Sport To Be Held In Sheridan

Jerome Pollos,Getty Images

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association is proud to announce that the PIHRA All Nations Indian Relay Championships will take place on September 12-14, 2014, at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds and will become the annual home of the All Nations Indian Relay Championships.  Indian Relay, in today’s terms is America’s oldest extreme sport and is now resurging as the worlds’ newest extreme sport! Teams from Horse Nations spread over the northwestern plains intensely compete with each other  throughout the summer months to earn their place at the All Nations Indian Relay Championships.

Indian Relay originated on the plains of North America over 400 years ago, when the horse was an integral part of Native Americans’ daily lives. 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. Today, riders compete not in the spirit of warfare but for “Native Pride” – it’s in their DNA! More than 30 elite teams representing 15 Indian nations from across North America will compete for more than $50,000 in prizes and the coveted Champions’ Jackets and Buckles.

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 throws away the reins and 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 second annual PIHRA Indian Relay Championships festivities will commence on Thursday afternoon, September 11 with a silent auction of items donated by either the tribes or local Sheridan shops. An exciting Calcutta will auction off the 30+ relay teams with 5% of the profits going to a special fund to help relay members that have been injured during relay competition.  The evening will culminate with a traditionally prepared buffalo feast provided by Chairman Darrin Old Coyote and the Crow Nation. The All Nations Championship relay action will begin on Friday September 12, 2014. The daily event will consist of six heats on both Friday and Saturday while the teams with the best scores will advance to the finals on Sunday. Spectators can watch the first, second and third consolation races prior to the championship race. The three-day show will also feature a “Warriors Race” where warriors make a 100 yard dash, leap upon a waiting warhorse and race one lap around the track to the finishing line in front of the grandstand.  The “Kids Relay Races” will also be run daily and this is one you definitely won’t want to miss.  Native American kids relay race on Shetland ponies on a small track in front of the grandstand and this event just might rival the big relay in popularity! The entire weekend will be a Native American cultural celebration also showcasing authentic Indian art and crafts, native traditions and much more.

The Sheridan County Fairgrounds was chosen to host the annual event because Indian Relay Races have been an important part of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo for decades and geographically situated at the most convenient location.

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association was founded to promote Indian Relay, horsemanship and safely. There were 17 founding teams the first year; one year later, membership has grown to 40 teams and they expect to have more by the time of the championships. The vision of the teams and the entire membership is of relay becoming a viable cultural and economic entity on the reservations.

Purchase your season tickets now and become part of the explosive action at this exciting annual event. Advance pricing on reserved tickets start at $20 with children’s advance tickets starting at $12. Tickets will be available at www.indianrelay.com and the Sheridan Travel and Tourism website www.sheridanwyoming.org. You can also purchase tickets at the WYO Theater box office, call 307-672-9084 or online at www.wyotheater.com. For more information, call Jeanette Sassoon at O) (307) 655-9330 or (C (561) 301-5522.

 

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