Tuesday, 03 October 2017 11:01

The “FIRST” Extreme Sport - History in the working… at RMTC

Written by Rose Rossi, RMTC
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Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association, Horse Race Alberta and the Rocky Mountain Turf marked Sept 30/ October 1st, 2017 a weekend of pride and energy never to forget by all that attended.

CULTURE, COURAGE & PRIDE!! The tarmac was celebrated in world class. Traditional dancers and drummers of all ages entertained between races. Show cased various traditional song and dances. Blessed by spiritual leaders. Adorned with color, feathers, ribbons and outstanding bead work. Traditional tribal regalia including ribbon shirts, moccasins, breechcloths and/or special fringe leggings worn by riders… Tribal theme oriented regalia to be reminded of the integrity and pride of Indian culture shared and observed by an over the top full house at the Rocky Mountain Turf Club in partner with Canadian Relay Race Association

Horses were marked with traditional tribal war paint and decorations in colors determined by team tradition. The strong presence of the horse also attached with medicine and feathers and identifying marks symbol and/or color to differentiate their selves. That mark was printed in program and relay literature to help fans identify teams.

Team members were federally recognized tribes & offspring of tribal members living on a recognized reservation. Fourteen teams participated in this amazing and unique extreme sport of Warriors.

This is how racing works in the Canadian Indian Relay Race — each team has a collaboration of 3 horses and 1 rider, 1 catcher, 1 exchange holder and 1 back holder. At the start of the race, the rider will have both feet on ground while catcher holds horse. The rest of the teams will be in designated boxes located in front of the grandstand. The start will be at the sound of a horn and the rider will climb aboard horse and begin racing around the track. The horse and rider will complete one round of track. The rider will ride to designated box where the catcher stops the horse and rider dismounts — where he mounts horse number 2 — held by exchange holder and races and again around track. The rider will ride horse number 2 to designated team box where catcher stops the horse, the rider dismounts, and mounts the final horse number 3 and races around track one final time. Extreme Ciaos! Excitement! Pure skill, horsemanship and guts!! The timed winner is declared by fastest time after judges submit timesheets and penalties assessed.


  • Warrior, 1 holder and 1 horse per team or individual. Holders must be on foot. No mounted holders allowed.
  • Warrior’s race 100m on foot to horse, mount and race once around track. All riders ride bareback, no saddles are allowed. First rider across finish line declared the winner (if timed then winner declared after judges submit times and penalties assessed).
  • Chief race will be mounted start and one lap around track.


  • Lady, 1 horse. Ladies will be on horse at start and race once around track.
  • First rider across the finish line declared the winner (if timed then winner declared after judges submit times and penalties assessed).


  • Each Judge will have a stop watch and time their assigned Box/Team. Time will start by horn/whistle/gun by starter/arena director Time will end when horse and rider cross the finish line. All races will be videotaped for any discrepancies. Judges will use stopwatch and replay video for any penalties and/or timing issues. Placing will be determined based on fastest time. Payout will be based on fastest times.


Canadian Indian Relay Racing Championships - C.I.R.R.A.  Rocky Mountain Turf Club Grandstand, Lethbridge Alberta

Canadian Indian Relay Racing Champion (combined season and finals points)

  • TK Farrier Service, Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan

Finals Champion

  1. Young Money, Blackfeet Nation, Montana USA

Championship Heat

  1. Young Money, Blackfeet Nation, Montana USA
  2. TK Farrier Service, Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan
  3. Lone Wolf, Peigan Nation, Alberta
  4. Stone & MT Stables, Red Pheasant First Nation, Saskatchewan

Heat 2

  1. Old Sun, Siksika Nation, Alberta
  2. Bar LM Warriors, Peigan Nation, Alberta
  3. Whitefish Warriors, Big River First Nation, Saskatchewan
  4. BIS Quarter Horse, Blood Tribe, Alberta

Heat 1

  1. Pretty Young Man, Siksika Nation, Alberta
  2. Okan Warriors, Siksika Nation, Alberta
  3. Night Rider, Blood and Peigan Nations, Alberta
  4. Treaty 6, Mosquito First Nation, Saskatchewan

Ladies Race

Canadian Indian Lady Racing Champion (combined season and finals points)

  • Logan Red Crow, Team Okan Warriors, Siksika Nation, Alberta

Finals Champion (finals points)

  • Kyrie Jackson, Team Lone Wolf, Peigan Nation, Alberta

Chiefs Race

Duel Champion - Canadian and Finals Indian Chief Racing Champion

  • Travis Maguire, Team Okan Warriors, Siksika Nation, Alberta

Warrior Race

Duel Champion - Canadian and Finals Indian Warrior Racing Champion

  • Myles Murray, Team Young Money, Blackfeet Nation, Montana USA

Event and Jacket Sponsor – Rocky Mountain Turf Club  •  Buckle Sponsors – Indigena Capital
Sponsors – Perlich Auction, B & D Walter Trucking, Serfas Farms, Best Western Hotel, Flamans Exhibition Park, Horse Racing Alberta

Indian relay is America’s oldest competitive sport. It dates back over 400 years to when the horse was first reintroduced to the native cultures of America’s.

Lakota culture insists that this was in fact the second coming of the horse and it’s reintroduction and in the fact the relationship to the plains cultures and the horse is perhaps much older than that is realized. Archaeology 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, its first and most exciting test of skill.

Today, Indian Relay is resurging as North America’s newest and most 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.

And the future… Dexter Bruised Head and Max G. Gibb took center stage and signed a 5 year contract.

The best is yet to come …

Just a few of the comments to share

  • Mayor Chris Spearman: Do you have any idea of the crowd size yesterday? It was impressive!
  • Kathy Yarshenko Irwin: It was an amazing event to watch!
  • Lynda Frank: best outdoor show ever here in Lethbridge!
  • Ron Sackamoto: This is Fantastic!
  • Gayle Hiscocks : AWESOME event. So much Fun and super exciting!
  • Lenora Manyfingers: Awesome! Warrior Pride!
  • Debi Figenshau: Such great riders and good horses! Was such fun to watch...next year again!
  • Barbara Ann Chase McKay: I heard this was an awesome event! Next year for sure!

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