PENDLETON — Teams from the Shoshone-Bannock Nation in Idaho, and the Crow and Blackfeet Nations, both of Montana, are featured in a film as they prepare and compete in the Indian relay season.
Each of the teams have their eye on the prize — winning the national championships. The public is invited to screen the documentary, “Indian Relay,” Wednesday at 6 p.m. in ST-200 at Blue Mountain Community College’s Science and Technology building, 2411 N.W. Carden Ave., Pendleton. The free event is part of Native American Heritage month events at BMCC.
The film, which premiered in November 2013 on PBS, received best cultural documentary and best photography from the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards. Award-winning filmmaker Charles Dye was committed to providing a positive and exciting view of the American Indian tradition of relay racing.
Described as an exhilarating mix of high-speed daring and exquisite horsemanship, Indian relay racing features up to eight athletes riding bareback around a track at full gallop. Barely slowing down after a lap, the riders leap from their horse to another and then again for a third lap. The riders race to the finish line, often at speeds topping 40 m.p.h. In addition, handlers corral their team’s horses, which can result in 32 people and 24 horses in the middle of the track creating a chaotic melee.
The film follows the three teams and highlights different aspects of the sport of Indian relay racing, including youth, ambition, wisdom, professionalism, brotherhood and rising above hardship. Some of the filming took place at the Pendleton Round-Up.