Lakota Country Times: Indian relay teams to compete at Pine Ridge

Lakota Warpath, a racing team from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, won the Indian relay championship title at the 2015 Crow Fair in Montana. Photo by Lakota Warpath Indian Relay

Indian Relay Center Stage At Oglala Nation
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

PINE RIDGE --Teams from across the country are set to descend on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the Oglala Nation Fair to compete in the growing sport of Indian Relay.

Posters for the event that is set to take place at 3 Moccasin Park located just south of Pine Ridge encourages participants to "Come run with the Warriors" as some of the best teams in the country will bring their horses in the hopes of taking home a share of the $10,000 in added prize money.

The event that is sanctioned by the Professional Indian Horse Racing Association will also award valuable points for winners looking to qualify for the organization's championship set to take place September 22-25 in Billings, MT during the Native American Heritage Days. The All-Nations Indian Relay will crown the circuit's season champion. Throughout the season accumulated prize money is set to eclipse the $150,000 mark as more and more teams and fans are driving the growth of the sport.

While many teams will travel long distances to compete, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has a contingent of teams who can compete with anyone in the nation according to PIHRA board of directors member Calvin Ghost Bear and owner of Lakota War Path of Oglala, SD. Currently Lakota War Path sits in fourth place in the PIHRA season standings but will enjoy the luxury of running in front of friends and family at these upcoming races.

"If you look at the Lakota teams their isn't very many of us," said Calvin Ghost Bear. "There are a lot of good teams but every weekend you see the Lakota teams run right up there with them," he added.

Teams hailing from the Oglala Nation include 2014 Sheridan Indian Relay World Champion, Lakota War Path, The Brew Crew, winner of the last two Sheridan Indian Relay World Championships, will be joined by others from around the area including Many Feathers and Slim Buttes.

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The preferred distance for an Indian relay track is one half mile. A team's rider must navigate the track three times a race and is required to exchange horses at the starting gate at the end of the first two runs.

The race schedule for the Indian relays held at the Oglala Nation Fair will kick off Saturday, August 6, 2016, with 9 scheduled races as well as trials for the Indian relay final on Sunday, August, 7, 2016. Also on Saturday, organizers will take a moment to honor Oglala Lakota jockey Fred Ecoffey.

The races will conclude on Sunday with the finals of the Indian relays. There will be an honoring on Sunday for Kirby White Hawk. There will be a cash payout for all races. There will also be a youth race, a women's race, and several open races.

For more information please contact Calvin Ghost Bear at (605) 391-0823.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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