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  • What does it take to win in this unique Native American sport.

    What does it take to win in this unique Native American sport.

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  • JonMarc Skunkcap after an exchange in the Indian Relay National Championships.

    JonMarc Skunkcap after an exchange in the Indian Relay National Championships.

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  • Kendall Old Horn, owner of the MM Indian Relay Team.

    Kendall Old Horn, owner of the MM Indian Relay Team.

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  • Narcis Reevis in the middle of the action during an intermediate heat of the Championships.

    Narcis Reevis in the middle of the action during an intermediate heat of the Championships.

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  • Zack Rock, MM Express Indian Relay team rider.

    Zack Rock, MM Express Indian Relay team rider.

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  • Riders at the start of the championship race during the Indian Relay National Championships

    Riders at the start of the championship race during the Indian Relay National Championships

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  • Ivan "Zack" Rock, riding for MM Express team , in the lead during 2011 National Championships.

    Ivan "Zack" Rock, riding for MM Express team , in the lead during 2011 National Championships.

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The Film

The hope and determination of modern-day American Indian life is revealed in this story about what it takes to win one of the most exciting and dangerous forms of horseracing practiced anywhere in the world today. From the bitter cold of winter on the Rocky Mountain front to the heat and mayhem of the summer’s championship races in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Oregon, Indian Relay follows several teams from three different American Indian communities as they prepare for and compete across a grueling Indian Relay season — all hearts set on the glory and honor of winning this year's National Championships.

A mix of high-speed daring and exquisite horsemanship, Indian Relay is a sport widely enjoyed and practiced by men and women from tribal nations across the Rocky Mountain West. Each race begins with seven athletes riding bareback around a track at full gallop. After one lap, barely slowing down, the riders leap from their speeding horses to a second set of horses. Each team’s handlers must then catch the first horse or risk being disqualified, creating a chaotic melee of 28 people and 21 thoroughbreds in the middle of the track. Another top-speed lap, another daring horse change, and the teams race for the finish line, at speeds topping 40 miles an hour.

The Filmmaker

  1. Charles DyeProducer/Director