Thrill seekers welcome. The North American Indian Days Rodeo held its 64th annual Indian relays over the weekend in Browning, Mont. The Indian Horse relays are known as America’s first extreme sport.
Teams of bareback riders lined up to take part in the event, which requires three riders per team, and each rider rounds a half-mile track three times, mounting and dismounting a different horse for each lap. The team that crosses the line first wins.
“It’s about as exciting as it can get,” Carol Murray, the rodeo’s organizer told the Great Falls Tribune. “There’s a potential for falls and a potential for a horse to run off without its rider. It’s all part of the event.”
“There might be a crash, a rider might lose his horse, the rider may not be able to get on for some odd reason, but as long as they get back on and their horse doesn’t get away they stay in the race,” She told the paper.
The relays are sanctioned by the Professional Indian Horse Racing Association, and the teams earn points toward the All Nations Indian Relay Championships, which is moving to the MetraPark Grandstands in Billings, Mont. Sept 17-20. The championships will bring a crowd of at least 30,000 to watch the top 30 relay teams compete for a $50,000 purse.
Nancy Harrison, who handles media relations for PIHRA, told The Billings Gazette why the organization was permanently changing their location. “This year, the Wyoming Rodeo Grounds wasn’t available on the date we needed for this year’s event," Harrison said. "And frankly we were looking for a place that is larger like the Metra. It’s such a big, beautiful facility and there’s such a rich history in that area.”
According to the PIHRA’s Facebook page, here is a list of this year’s NAID winners: First place, White Calf/ Lil’ Muncie Osborne; second place, Awatsapsii Express/Robert BlackBull; third place, Carlson Relay; fourth place, Pikuni Express/Narsis Reevis; fifth place, Young Money/Myles Murray; and sixth place, Pikuni Boys/Chris Carlson.