All Nations Indian Relay Race Championships Less than a Month Away

Tickets on sale for the 2016 All Nations Indian Relay Championships

Billings, MT. –The Fourth Annual All Nations Indian Relay Championships will be held in Billings, Montana at the historic MetraPark Grandstands Sept. 22-25, 2016. Teams from all major Horse Nations will compete for the biggest purse ever offered for an Indian relay event drawing record-breaking crowds.

The All Nations Indian Relay Championships event is a combination of the World Series and Super Bowl for Indian Horse Relay. As America’s oldest known competition, Indian Relay is exploding onto the scene as the world’s newest and most exciting extreme sport! The Championships are the culmination of 16 grueling competitions held June through September in Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota and Canada. PIHRA member teams compete to earn points towards the coveted invitation to the Championships.

The 2016 All Nations Indian Relay Championships will be the largest gathering to ever witness Indian Horse Relay, with the best inter-tribal competition ever assembled competing for the coveted title of Champion. Those wanting to attend need to purchase tickets, make hotel reservations and be ready for a great week-end of entertainment and excitement. in addition to the various heats of the Relay Races, each performance includes the Warriors Race, Maidens Race, Chiefs race, Junior race and Pony Relay Races and more. Vendors will sell traditional Native Crafts, commemorative items, food and drink. Singers and drummers will perform before and during the races. Native American kites will be flown and fine arts will be on display. Enjoy the free two hour pre-show daily including performances by Supaman, the Crawford Brothers and Scatter Their Own plus an amazing Native American Designers fashion show and pow wow drumming and dancing. The Grand Entry brings chills to attendees as horseback riders enter the arena in full regalia and members of the military are honored. All in all, it’s a professionally produced entertainment and sporting event of the highest caliber.

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) was founded to promote Indian Relay, horsemanship and safety. PIHRA has developed a season-long championship series, all leading up to the All Nations Indian Relay Championships. There were 17 founding teams in 2012; four 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.

At this year’s All Nations Indian Relay Championships more than 30 elite teams representing 15 Indian nations will compete at the 2016 All Nations Championships for cash prizes over $75,000 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, Cheyenne River Sioux, Assiniboine Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Crow, Gros Ventre, 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.

To stay up to date with PIHRA and the All Nations Indian Relay Championships, follow “Professional Indian Horse Racing Association” on Facebook, go to LetsRelay.com 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, visit www.adventuremedianews.com or call Nancy Harrison at 307-421-4473.

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Photo Credit to Diana Volk

PIHRA MISSION 

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) was founded to promote Indian Relay, horsemanship and safety. PIHRA has developed a season-long series of sanctioned relay races that culminate in the annual All Nations Indian Relay Championships. PIHRA is an association of teams, individuals, and sponsors who participate in the sport of Indian relay racing. There about 50 teams from the northern plains Indian country that participate. 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. The mission of PIHRA is to bring the fun, excitement, passion and heritage of Indian Horse Racing to a broader audience. Through this process, PIHRA will strive to provide a safe and fair environment for the team participants, their horses, and the event spectators. The PIHRA vision is that Indian Relay can provide a positive economic and cultural model for Native American relay teams and their families moving forward into today’s world while preserving the past.

ORIGINS OF RELAY

Indian relay is America’s oldest sport. It dates back over 400 years to when the horse was first re-introduced to the native cultures of the America’s. Lakota culture insists that this was in fact the second coming of the horse and its reintroduction and in fact the relationship to the plains cultures and the horse is perhaps much older than that is realized. Archeology seems to support that view.

It appears that Indian relay developed independently amongst the Indian nations. Different cultures have different oral histories of its origins and most likely they are all true representations. To one tribe, relay was used as war games, to another, a relay strategy to hunt the buffalo, to another, a way to outrun the wild horses to enable their capture. Whatever the origins of relay the importance of it and of the horse to the plains cultures cannot be understated. The horse was transportation, it provided sustenance, it provided protection. The horse was considered sacred by many native cultures and revered by all. It was a major source of status and a most sought after prize. Relay provided the measure to test the horse, the rider, and the team.

Indian Relay is also America’s oldest competition, it’s first and most exciting test of skill. Today Indian relay is resurging as America’s newest extreme sport. Warriors racing at lightning speed, leaping from one galloping horse and flying onto another, defying fear and gravity; displaying the ultimate bond of horse and rider, when the two become one.

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