INDIAN RELAY is an inspiring multi-season portrait of several American Indian families - all former Indian Relay National Champions - as they prepare for, and compete in one of the most exciting and dangerous forms of horse-racing practiced anywhere in the world today: Indian Relay. This story builds in intensity as summer races are intercut with stories and views from the long off-season - feeding horses in the bitter cold of winter near Crow Agency, Montana; building a team in the gray of spring beside Interstate 15 in Ft. Hall, Idaho, training in the brutal wind beneath magnificent peaks of the Rockies near Browning, Montana. The film culminates at the 2011 National Championships in Blackfoot, Idaho. INDIAN RELAY is the story of what every championship-winning Indian Relay team must have: discipline, horsemanship, guts, great horses, and most importantly: family. (This project is in production and will air in 2013/2014). (Coming in 2013/2014)
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About the Film:
The hope and determination of modern-day American Indian life is revealed in this one-hour film for public television about the commitment, skill, and family support any Indian Relay team needs to win one of the most exciting and dangerous forms of horse racing 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.
An incredible 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 six athletes riding bareback around a track at full gallop. After one lap, barely slowing down, the athletes leap from their speeding horses to a second set of horses. Each team's handlers must catch the first horse or risk being disqualified, creating a chaotic melee of 24 people and 18 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.
About Dye Film Works:
Dye Film Works produces films for public television fostering multi-cultural understanding, individual empowerment and the manifestation of a healthy, peaceful future. Other documentaries include double Emmy Award-winning Before There Were Parks: Yellowstone and Glacier Through Native Eyes (2010), along with A Cat Called Elvis (2007). http://www.dyefilmworks.com
Left: James Bullshoe enters the arena at the 2010 Indian Relay World Championships in Sheridan WY.
Credit: All photos by Charles Dye
For high resolution promotional images visit the PRESSROOM.
Indian Relay is a product of collaboration between many talented western Montana artists and professionals, including:
Director and producer Charles Dye of Dye Film Works has over 15 years experience working in the development and production of independent documentaries. He is Producer, Director, Editor and Writer for the double Emmy Award-winning documentary Before There Were Parks: Yellowstone & Glacier Through Native Eyes (PBS Primetime 2010). He is Co-Producer, Cinematographer and Writer for Last of the Gum Men (PBS NETA 2002). He is Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Writer and Editor for A Cat Called Elvis (MontanaPBS 2007 & www.lifeonterra.com) He was an Artist-in-Residence at Islandwood (Bainbridge, WA) in 2003 and led Documentary On-Assignment Teams for National Geographic Student Expeditions to Iceland, Australia and Tanzania from 2008-2010.
Executive Producer Aaron Pruitt
Producer & Director Charles Dye
Writer M. Smoker
Advisory Board Chair John Murray
Humanities Advisor Dr. Walter Fleming
Field Producers/Sound Jaime Jelenchick & Mike Suarez
Sound Recordists Parker Brown, Devon Ritter
PA Derrick Littlelight
Editors/Post-Production Management Distill Productions Katie Gilbertson, Andy Adkins
Cinematographers Danny Schmidt, Dawson Dunning, Rick Smith, Russell Hawkins, Christi Cooper, Ian Johnson, Scott Sterling & Randy Wimberg
Associate Producer Wayne Smith Jr.
Funding for Indian Relay has been has been provided by: