|July 18, 2013
Indian Relay Race attracts riders from other regions
By Lailani Upham
Michael Running Crane of Southern Pikuni tries to gain more momentum as he trails behind DeRouche team member Wes Edwards. (Lailani Upham photo)
BROWNING Eleven teams competed for the big money, Pendleton coats and buckles at the 62nd Annual North American Indian Days Indian Relay Race at the Charging Home Stampede Park this past weekend.
A total of $13,000 was distributed among Championship and Consolation for first, second and third places.
(L to R) Narsis Reevis, Oliver Pakootas, Lil Muncie Osborne, and Chris Carlson fly by the crowd. Carlson of Blue Mountain Express came in first in heat one of the Saturday races. (Lailani Upham photo)
Indian Relay which is known as the most exciting and dangerous form of horse racing practiced anywhere in the world primarily started in Montana, Idaho and Washington states and has expanded into Wyoming and other states, says Carol Murray, NAID Indian Relay race coordinator.
Its a mix of high speed and exquisite horsemanship made up of four people and three horses. One person is the rider, another is known as the mugger, who catches the horse when the rider jumps off, and the other two people handle the horses.
Southern Pikuni team members work hand in hand during mounting switch on Saturday as a few heads from the crowd peek past the railing to experience the excitement. (Lailani Upham photo)
In the race, riders make three laps around changing to a new horse at the beginning of each lap.
The rider has to be swift enough to vault from one horse to another while riding bareback and speed off for another lap.
Murray, who says she is 60, remembers the races her family were in long before it was sport like it is today. It was not it is today, back then it was mostly local people.
The crowd presses up to get close at the start of the Indian Relay races on Saturday afternoon. (Lailani Upham photo)
Murray says although the annual summer powwow has been in existence for 62 years the Indian Relay competition has been happening in Browning for nearly 30.
Championship winners are:
First place: Omak Express Tyler Peasley
Second place: White Calf Lil Muncie Osborne
Third place: Grizzly Mountain Oliver Pakootas
First place: Pikuni Express Narsis Reevis
Second place: Tissidimit Josh Thompson
Third Place: Southern Pikuni Michael Running Crane