Riders Prepare for All Nations Indian Relay in Billings - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Riders Prepare for All Nations Indian Relay in Billings

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

The All Nations Indian relay invades MetraPark for the first time ever this weekend. The four-day event features teams from across the region and the roots of the sport go back centuries.

"They're all fast and you've got to be fast yourself and hope you have a good run," said 25-year-old rider Garrell Snell.

Snell lives in Crow Agency, and he's been riding horses since he was two. His family's team brought six horses to the event, and he says taking care of them is an 8-hour a day full-time job.

"It's kind of different from having a connection with a human," he said. "I don't know, I couldn't explain it -- the connection I have with these horses."

36 teams from across the Northwest will compete for gifts and $75,000 in cash.

Oliver Pakootas and his team traveled from Washington to compete. Pakootas says they competed in the first two 'All Nations' relays, which took place in Sheridan, Wyoming.

"It's cool to come and compete against different tribes and represent our own tribe," he said.

In Indian relays, each team has three horses and four men. One rider rides all three horses bareback. Riders say the exchange is often where races are won or lost.

"We'll have (to have) a good start too, cause we'll start on the ground standing next to our horse -- that plays a big part," Pakootas added.

The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association formed recently, and it's only the third year of the event. Riders say it's great to see the sport grow.

"Teams have a hard time training, finding funds to get supplies for horses, and since it's getting bigger, it's making it easier on us, because we're finally getting help," said Ashton Old Elk of Crow Agency.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Thursday night and 7 p.m. Friday night. The racing on Saturday and Sunday take place in the afternoon.

Click here for ticket information.

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