Abrahamson Relay rides to first place in the championship race; six tribal relay teams qualify for Championship of Champions 

WALLA WALLA – It was just another day at the playground, or in this case, another day at the racetrack for Scott Abrahamson, jockey for Abrahamson Relay. 

The 21-year-old Colville tribal member ran a nearly flawless championship race to propel Abrahamson Relay to the title at this year’s Indian Relay Championship of Champions in Walla Walla. 

“It was nice to finally be back, to be back on top again,” said Abrahamson. “It felt good bringing the title back to the Colville Reservation.” 

This marks the second time in the three years that Abrahamson Relay has taken the Indian Relay title after they won it all back in 2017 with their first title. Last year, another of the Colville tribal teams, Northwest Express, came in first. 

Abrahamson said this year’s championship run wouldn’t have been possible if not for a handful of others along the way. 

“The horses did great and so did my team. I couldn’t ask for any better than them,” said Abrahamson. “That’s why we are champions because of my team and horses.” 

At the start of the race, things didn’t look too promising for the Abrahamson team, sporting purple. 

“We got blocked in at the start which held us back a little,” said Abrahamson. 

Abrahamson had found himself sandwiched close together to two other relay teams at the start of the race, but his horse faced forward, while the other two were facing sideways and backwards. 

As he sped off and began to round the first corner, Abrahamson kept within striking distance of the top riders, setting himself up for the race’s first exchanges. 

As the field rounded the final corner of the first lap, Abrahamson sat in third place as he began to pace his horse towards his team’s box. 

“I knew we had to hit our exchanges to even be in the race,” Abrahamson said. 

He would go on to do just that. 

Young Money (Blackfeet) would hold the lead for the time being as they were the first relay team to make it to the exchange area, but Abrahamson Relay made a race- changing move as they came flying into their exchange box and within a few blinks of an eye Abrahamson was off his first horse and on to his second. 

With horses flying into their boxes and riders trying to get dismounted and remounted, Abrahamson Relay managed to escape the madness, moving out on to the open track. 

He was now in second place and trailed the first place team of Goes Ahead Pretty (Crow) by half a length. 

As they sped out of the exchange area, Holman Realbird, jockey for Goes Ahead Pretty, held a slim lead, but he started to feel the presence of Abrahamson behind him. 

Abrahamson was building tremendous speed like he was shot out of a cannon as he began to chase down Realbird for the lead. 

As the two front runners started to round the first corner, Realbird attempted to take the inside position, trying to cut off the rail and slow down some of the momentum and speed of the Colville jockey. 

It didn’t matter. 

Abrahamson’s second horse was flying down the track as he ended up getting in front of Realbird, taking the inside position and the lead. 

“Once we hit the first exchange I knew my second horse would pull away from everyone else,” Abrahamson said. 

As Abrahamson made his way to the backstretch, he expanded his lead to three lengths. 

He kept that same lead as he made his way towards the homestretch in front of the stands for the second and final exchange. 

Making his way to his team’s exchange box, Abrahamson didn’t have to worry about any other riders out in front of him as he leaped off one horse and onto another horse for the final lap. 

By the time the rest of the field had reached the home stands and their respective exchange boxes, Abrahamson was already flying down the track in the early stages of his third and final lap. 

“We ended up having a clean race, couldn’t ask for a better one,” he said. 

After making it to the championship race last year and coming up short, finishing sixth, Abrahamson Relay have now won their second championship in three years. They’ve also raced in the championship race the past three years. 

Even though he’s not on the Abrahamson Relay team, Virgil Tonasket (Colville tribal member), out-holder for Omak Express, was rooting for his fellow tribal team to win the whole thing. 

However, it wasn’t in your ideal situation. 

“I was getting hauled out in the ambulance and I was trying to waive and yell at Abrahamson Relay,” said Tonasket. “Saying, ‘Take it home. You’re our last hope!’” 

There’s only one nation that Tonasket roots for when it comes to the Championship of Champions. 

“I’m going for every Colville team when I’m down at Walla Walla,” he says. “How cool would that be if it was an all Colville championship? We would have so much bragging rights.” 

In the past six years, five of the six champions have been from the Colville Confederated Tribes. 

“It shows that we need to be recognized as the best teams to come from Washington,” said Tonasket. 

Abrahamson Relay would be the lone Colville tribal team to make it to this year’s championship race. 

“Horse racing has been in our culture forever,” said Rodney Cawston, Chairman for the Colville Business Council. “It’s a great honor for me to be here today on behalf of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation on this final day of our races. It’s really good to see all of our people gathered here today for an event like this for these horse races.” 

Last year’s defending champion, Northwest Express, didn’t make it to the championship race and had to settle for the consolation championship race where they placed fourth. 

Colville tribal councilman Darnell Sam sang an honor song before the first round of races began. 

“Line them up boys. Let’s race,” said Sam after he was done singing. 

The Colville Confederated Tribes was the main sponsor for this year’s Indian Relay Championship of Champions. 

Abrahamson Relay team members listed below; (All are Colville tribal member) 

Backholder – BeauDeen Adolph 

Out Holder – Matthew Pakootas Sr. 

Mugger – Jonathan Abrahamson 

 

Overall placement of the 2019 Indian Relay Championship Race 

Place Relay team (Jockey) Nation 

1st – Abrahamson Relay – (Scott Abrahamson) – Colville Confederated Tribes 

2nd – Goes Ahead Pretty – (Holman Realbird) – Crow Nation 

3rd – Mountain Crow – (Tyler Cottier) – Oglala Sioux 

4th – Young Money – (Myles Murray) – Blackfeet 

5th – Fast Horse Relay – (Delayne Leaster) – Standing Rock Sioux 

6th – Aimsback – (Jaylin Potts) – Blackfeet

 

Listed below are results for Sunday’s championship and consolation races. 

Consolation Championship Race results 

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Omak Express – Colville Tribes

2nd – Black Rock Relay – Blackfeet

3rd – Amskapi Pikuni – Blackfeet

4th – Northwest Express – Colville Tribes

5th – Arrow Lakes Express – Colville T 

– Starr School – DQ 

Consolation Race #1 results

Place – Relay team – Nation 

1st – Old Sun – Siksika Nation

2nd – White Tail Express – Crow 

3rd – Moccasin Flatts – Paiate 

4th – WhiteFish Warriors – Good Fish

5th – Pretty Young Man – Siksika Nation 

– Mountain River – DQ 

Consolation Race #2 results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Dancing Warrior – Oglala Sioux

2nd – Sioux Foot – Stoney Nakoda 

3rd – Smoke Ranch – Colville Tribes

4th – Blue Moons – Oglala Sioux 

– Counting Coup - DQ 

– MC Relay – DQ 

Consolation Race #3 results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Umatilla Express – Shoban 

2nd – Lakota WarPath – Oglala Sioux

3rd – Cayuse Express – Standing Rock

4th – Young Bear Express – MHA

5th – Grizzly Mountain – Colville Tribes 

– River Road – DQ 

Consolation Race #4 results 

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Awa Daa Hey – Crow

2nd – Stick Racing – Tsuutina Nation

3rd – Anitapapsii – Piikani

4th – Wild Cree – Cree

5th – Two Nations – Crow

6th – River Cree Thunder – Cree 

Ladies Relay Championship results 

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Timentwa – Colville Tribes

2nd – Tissidimit – Shononi-Bannock

3rd – Blue Moons – Oglala Sioux

4th – Awa Daa Hey – MHA

5th – Arrow Lakes – Colville Tribes

6th – Awa Daa Hey – MHA 

Ladies Relay Consolation Championship

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Ghost Horse – Oglala Sioux

2nd – Sage Creek Vets – Rosebud Sioux

3rd – Old Sun – Siksika Nation 

Results for the 2019 Maiden Race

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Arrow Lakes – Colville Tribes

2nd – White Tail Express – Crow Nation

3rd – Sage Creek Vets – Rosebud Sioux

4th – Jody Cate – Colville Tribes

5th – Timentwa – Colville Tribes

6th – MT Crow – Oglala Sioux

7th – Tissidimit – Shononi-Bannock 

Warrior Race results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Young Money – Blackfeet Tribe

2nd – Abrahamson Relay – Colville Tribes 

3rd – Grizzly Mountain – Colville Tribes

4th – Counting Coup – Blackfoot

5th – Mountain River – Nakoda Nation

6th – Wild and Cree – Cree 

Chief Race results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Lakota WarPath – Oglala Sioux

2nd – Omak Express – Colville Tribes

3rd – Young Bear Express – Crow

4th – Mt. Crow – Oglala Sioux

5th – Arrow Lakes – Colville Tribes

6th – WhiteFish Warriors – Big River 

Junior Relay Championship results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – River Road – Crow Nation

2nd – Omak Express – Colville Tribes

3rd – Smoke Ranch – Colville Tribes 

– Mason Relay – Scratch 

Youth Relay Championship results

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Partner Stable – Saddle Lake

2nd – Triple R – Standing Rock

3rd – Arrow J #1 – Standing Rock

4th – Arrow J #2 – Standing Rock

5th – Lil Buffalo Runners – Blackfeet

6th – Abrahamson – Colville Tribes 

Youth Relay Consolation results 

Place – Relay team – Nation

1st – Grizzly Mountain – Colville Tribes

2nd – Blue Moons – Oglala Sioux

3rd – Young Money – Blackfeet

4th – Inakmaakaa – Blackfeet

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