A trio of locale athletes competed in the Horse Nations Indian Relays over the weekend at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper.
Caydn Lone Dog rode for the Mission Bred Rosebud team in the Junior Relay on Saturday and again in the Chiefs Race on Sunday while Twinney Washakie rode on opening day for the Washakie Girlz with Kylee Washakie Riding for Cash-in-Relay in the Women’s relay. The Washakie Girlz ran again on Sunday in the Maiden Consolation race.
The event highlights superb horsemanship and expert riding ability at breakneck speed, without a saddle and only a halter and a handful of mane to keep you on horseback.
It has been described as America’s original sport and descends from times when switching horses in battle or in getting a message delivered was the difference between life and death.
The Central Wyoming Rodeo grounds have a well-groomed course with the exchange zone directly in front of the grandstands.
A great crowd braved the nearly 100-degree heat on both days to watch the action.
Divisions for men, women, and youth kept the track busy on both days.
The Junior Men’s Relay featured S/M Express with Drew Nomee riding for the Crow tribe. Arrow J from the Standing Rock Sioux had Lane Cadotte riding and Caydn Lone Dog, a junior at St. Stephen’s High School rode for Mission Bred Rosebud, a team representing the Sioux and Arapaho tribes.
Nathan Pebeahsy from the Wind River Reservation and his brother-in-law Daniel Black worked as handlers for Lone Dog.
There are three team members on a relay squad with a rider, a handler who mugs the incoming horses, and another handler who has the second, third and fourth horses in the older divisions, waiting for the exchange.
The action in the exchange zone is intense with the rider hitting the ground in stride on championship exchanges and the mugger taking the brunt of the event, often getting run over, rolled, and occasionally kicked by the high-spirited horses during the relay exchange.
The Women’s Relay featured a pair of Crow teams, the Amyotte Relay and the Old Elk Relay with Diamond Amyotte and Autumn Jefferson riding. White Horse a Dine relay team with Michelle White Horse on horseback and two Eastern Shoshone Relays, the Washakie Girlz with Twinney Washakie, and the Cash-in-Relay with Kylee Washakie.
The local Lone Dog team competed against a pair of Northern Cheyenne relays in the Chey-Crow and Bear Chum with riders Chance Alden and Santos Brady respectively.
Joining the Washakie Girlz in the Consolation Relay on Sunday were Bear in the Mountain, a Crow relay with Casey Hugs riding and a Crow/Northern Cheyenne relay called Battle Mountain Express with Heaven Brady on horseback.
The championship Maiden Division featured the Amyotte and White Horse Relays along with Autumn Jefferson riding for the Jefferson Racing team representing the Crow tribe, and Laci Moccasin on a Cree/Crow relay called Tongue River.
S/M Express rode again in the Warrior Race with S/M, another Crow relay with Prinz Three Iron riding, and an Oglala relay called Rising Sun ridden by Michael Kelly.
After an intermission, and a children’s race, a pair of consolation relays were held, and the final championship relay, won by S/M Express with PG Nomee representing the Crow tribe winning the event in 2:45.92.
The Indian Relay Tour continues later this month in Pierre, South Dakota.
The Relay Championship of Champions takes place from September 23 to 25th.