Calgary – Tradition and teamwork, precision and pride will be on full display during a new demonstration sport at Calgary Stampede 2017. The Relay Races will feature four of the very best Indigenous racing teams in North America, showcasing their horsemanship skills in a high adrenalin competition. As a demonstration event, relay racing will run for just three nights, July 11-13, immediately following the GMC Rangeland Derby.
“For more than 100 years, there has been a strong connection between the Calgary Stampede and Indigenous peoples, especially the Nations of Treaty 7,” says Tyrone Potts, event organizer and member of the Calgary Stampede Indian Events committee. “Showcasing this traditional sport is about continuing to build our future together.”
This year’s demonstration Relay Races will feature two teams from Treaty 7 territories, Lone Wolf of the Piikani Nation and Okan Warriors of the Siksika Nation. Joining them are Young Money and the Carlson Team of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Montana.
“Our people have a strong connection to the horse, and this is one way we honour it,” says Aaron Good Rider of team Lone Wolf. “It’s also a great accomplishment to have this sport at the Calgary Stampede, bringing our Nations together.”
How Relay Races work:
· Each team has four members and three high-powered thoroughbred race horses.
· Team members all have a role. There is one rider, two horse holders and one ‘mugger’ who catches the horse during an exchange. All teams and their horses make their way onto the track at the same time, and remain on the track for the entire race.
· Teams stand off to the side while the four riders prepare for a standing start.
· When the horn sounds, riders leap onto their horses bareback (without a saddle) and race a lap of the track.
· Once the first lap is completed, it’s time for the relay exchange. The rider jumps off his horse and passes it to the mugger. He then leaps onto a new horse and takes off for another lap.
· This cycle continues for three laps, where the fastest team wins!
The Calgary Stampede is excited to showcase this sport, which is growing in popularity throughout Western Canada and the United States. Experience the Relay Races first-hand by purchasing your ticket to the TransAlta Grandstand Show & GMC Rangeland Derby for July 11-13 at CalgaryStampede.com. Ticket prices start at just $49.
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com