Forget the Derby – Battle of the Horse Nations is Where the Excitement Is!


Posted By Toyacoyah Brown May 6th, 2015 Blog



Courtesy PIRHA

Courtesy PIRHA

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) recently announced the opening race for their 2015 PIHRA Indian Relay Series will be held June 12, 13th and 14th at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. The “Battle Of The Horse Nations” will showcase Indian Relay teams from the top Horse Nations around the country including, Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfeet, Colville, Shoshone-Bannock and Umatilla.

Why is this all happening? Why are 15 of the best teams in the world traveling to Auburn, Washington in early June? They are coming to honor the Muckleshoot Tribe and their important acquisition of Emerald Downs Racetrack. “This is a historic for the Indian Horse Nations,” says Calvin Ghost Bear of the Oglala Lakota Nation and owner of the World Champion Lakota Warpath team. “It is very important that our people and our children do not loose the important place the horse has in our history and our culture. We have come to honor the Muckleshoot’s important acknowledgement and support of that. We come to honor them and our ancestors.” Ghost Bear will be traveling over 2500 miles with 6 horses and his 6 man team to compete in the race.

The top three teams from each of the main horse nations areas have been invited by Emerald Downs, the Muckleshoot Tribe, and the PIHRA to compete in this historic event. “This may be the best Indian Relay races ever run.” comments Gary Fellers one of the PIHRA directors. “These are 15 of the top teams in the world and they have never really run head to head against each other before. It is historic. The Emerald Downs fans are in for a real treat.”

Photo by Diana Volk

Photo by Diana Volk

And in case you're unfamiliar with an Indian Relay, here's a little snippet from the Indian Relay documentary. It gives you a good idea of what exactly a relay is, what all goes into training these horses and what it means to the riders.

If you're in the Washington state area, I would not miss this if I were you. For more information on the Professional Indian Horse Racing Association you can visit their website or follow along on Facebook.

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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