• MLWA 7

Colville Tribes announces Horse Nations Indian Relay Council partnership



— Nespelem Wa


The Colville Business Council announced a partnership with the Horse Nations Indian Relay Council in the 2019 Indian Relay Racing season, March 4.


A press release announcing the partnership from CBC read, “During the 2018 Indian Relay horse racing season, we at the Colville Confederated Tribes were both proud and thankful. We witnessed one of our own teams, Northwest Express, win Indian Relay’s most coveted Championship of Champions with horses Merv, Smoke Dog and Soarin, ridden by the talented Mathew Pakootas Jr., and supported by holder Loren Marchand, team mugger Edward Marchand and the team catcher Arnold Abrahamson. The 2018 Championship of Champions was hosted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Walla Walla.”

“Those who attended this Championship Indian Relay race, witnessed 40 teams from throughout the United States and Canada participate in this very memorable event,” said Colville Tribal Chairman Rodney Cawston today. “We saw many quality horses and talented riders giving their all. There were heart-pounding stretch battles, painful losses and horses and jockeys taking terrifying spills. There is an exciting element of risk with each race.


“It’s exciting to watch in person. It is always enjoyable watching the horse, rider, and their team members work together. The essence of this effective teamwork reveals itself clearly in the post-win evaluation after each race. Although it’s the horse and jockey that get over the line, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes toward winning these races. It’s a lot of work from developing racing strategies to pre-training regimes, transporting horses and feed over hundreds of miles during the racing season. It is positive to see so many friends and family members supporting their teams.”


Horse racing has been a long-standing tradition throughout Indian Country for hundreds of years. Indian people have always been magnificent riders as well as horse breeders. “


HNIRC President, Calvin Ghost Bear says, “There has always been great teams in the Northwest. For many years those teams traveled out of their area to compete in the Championship event. In fact, in the 2017 Championship of Champions, Colville’s own Abrahamson Relay, traveled to Montana to take home the win. HNIRC is very happy with the support we’ve received in moving the event to Washington.”


“With this upcoming 2019 horse racing season, let’s encourage our Indian Relay Teams by attending one of the scheduled horse racing events, our riders and their team members need to know that their hard work and efforts matter! I would especially like to encourage everyone to attend the races we host on behalf the Colville Tribes: the Omak Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race in Omak, WA always the 2nd Weekend in August; the NCW District Fair in Waterville, WA August 24th-25th; The Republic County Fair August 31st- September 2nd; The Okanogan County Fair in Omak, WA September 7th-8th and, the most coveted race of the year, the Championship of Champions scheduled in Walla Walla, WA, September 20th-22nd”, says Cawston.