Thursday, 10 May 2018 10:27

Take in traditional, cultural competition at Showdown in Cowtown this July

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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One of North America's oldest sports will be showcased in Maple Creek this July as Cowtown Productions brings the Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association to the rodeo grounds for some exciting, traditional competition.

Co-organizer, Joe Braniff said he had been researching the sport and thought it would be a good event for Maple Creek.
"I had been researching this association, contacted their reps, and talked to some colleagues. I approached the newly formed Cowtown Productions and the committee was very enthusiastic, so we took it to the next level," he said.
Indian relay racing, a sport believed to have gotten its start more than 400 years ago, is a team competition, with each heat involving up to teams. Each team consists of three horses and four warriors. One warrior is the rider while the others are the catcher, mugger/holder, and back-holder. The latter three hold and corral the horses.
Dressed in traditional regalia, the rider jumps on the first horse and rides bareback for a lap around the arena. Then, must transfer to the second horse, go for a lap, and then to the third horse.
"The jockey does a running mount, rounds the track, then has to dismount on the fly and there are three teams in each heat," said Braniff.
"(The Canadian Indian Relay Racing Association) is in their second year, with the finals taking place in Lethbridge. It's something that is really  gaining in popularity," he added.
The first Indian relay races for Canada were organized and sanctioned in 2017, but there have been official races in the United States for years.
To complement the relay racing, a top-notch bull riding event will follow with Curtis Sawyer and Outlaw Buckers bringing in some of the best bulls in the business.
"We didn't have a pro rodeo last year, but we had a very successful bull riding event," said Braniff. "Outlaw Buckers have had livestock perform all over North America and their bulls are from a tremendous group of bloodlines. There will be some of the best in the business here."
Organizers expect a full-house for the event, being dubbed Showdown in Cowtown.
"I anticipate it will be the biggest single-day event in Maple Creek history. Our organization believes this will be huge," he said.
They are expecting 2,000 people to take in the relay racing and bull riding competitions.
"It's going to be fantastic," he said.
Showdown in Cowtown takes place at the High Chapparal Arena in Maple Creek on Thurs. July 19. Gates open at 4 p.m., with the CIRRA relay racing starting at 5 pm and the Outlaw Buckers bull riding to commence at 7:30 p.m.
There will also be a beer garden and concession available. Tickets will be available soon through local merchants and the Cypress Hills Destination Area.

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