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As Indian Relay Races come to Casper, Trails Center celebrating horsemanship culture

(Photo courtesy National Historic Trails Interpretive Center)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Indian Relay Races Championship of Champions will be taking place at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds starting Thursday, September 23 with competitions scheduled through Sunday.

Six teams featuring 24 warriors and 18 horses will participate in a showcase of horsemanship skills, coordination and speed as part of the events, according to Visit Casper.

With the races coming to Casper, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center will be celebrating the importance of horsemanship to American Indian culture with a presentation scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, September 25.

Nate Bressler and Stan Brewer will be presenting “Sage to Saddle: Harnessing Horsemanship to Support Native Youth.” They will share stories about their lives, photography and work on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The “Sage to Saddle” project began in 2018, when Bressler was on an Outside Magazine photo assignment to cover American Indian horse relay racing. The project involves giving back to tribal communities through “youth services like trail rides, fundraising opportunities, and ultimately, construction of an indoor riding facility that will offer kids a place to hang out and learn during cold Dakota winters.” 

“Nate and Stan’s work bridges the past with the present and it is an honor to have them present at the Trails Center,” Trails Center Manager Dennis Kuhnel said. “Come see their presentation Saturday morning and then head to the Indian Relay Races to round out the day.” 

Bressler is a former archaeologist who has spent 20 years photographing the American West and volunteering for a variety of organizations. That experience includes time at California healing surf camps and time spent on American Indian youth cultural discovery days.

“Brewer, a Lakota Native and former rodeo champion, is a driving force behind Pine Ridge’s horse community and has dedicated himself to serving the community through group rides, volunteer firefighting and Indian relay team management,” the Trails Center says. “A rancher and father of two boys, he is well versed in the demands of animal husbandry and loves to share his equestrian knowledge for the benefit of future generations.”

“For more information, please call the Trails Center at 307-261-7700.”

The Trails Center is free and open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is located at 1501 North Poplar St. in Casper.