Fort Hall, Idaho- The National Indian Relay Championship starts is underway at the Eastern Idaho State Fair (EISF) race track in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Relay teams compete annually for the National Indian Relay Championship title and a $37,400 purse. Races span throughout five days of the state fair and include a chief race, ladies race, consolation and championship.
The Indian Relay Races are a centuries-old tradition of Native American horse culture that has its roots in Southeastern Idaho.
This fierce bareback race features multiple qualifying heats of 15 to 20 teams of riders vying for the national championship held annually in conjunction with the Eastern Idaho State Fair in September. Each team must use three different horses in the relay. These daring riders must jump off a horse while it is still on the run and then run to mount the next one -- without assistance -- to continue the race. One missed switch or fall can take a team from first to disqualification in an instant.
Injuries are common, 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.
The Indian Relay schedule is as follows:
· Thursday, September 4 – Indian Relay Races
No pari-mutuel races today. Relays start at 12' noon back to back.
· Friday, September 5 – Indian Relay Races
Heat 1 after the 4th, heat 2 after the 6th and heat 3 after the8th pari-mutuel races.
· Saturday, September 6 – Ladies Race; Consolation Race; Championship Race
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. The ladies race after the 4th heat, 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 SBTribes.com, or call Indian Relay Committee for more information at 208-251-7785 or 208-244-4726.