June 14th, 2024

Warriors Relay Races on Canada Day to pay tribute

By Dale Woodard on June 26, 2021.

After being kept away last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Warrior Relay Races ride back into the Rocky Mountain Turf Club on Canada Day,

This year, however, the race will take on a special meaning and is welcoming some public participation.

In memory of the 215 children whose remains were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at the end of May, a teepee will be set up on the tarmac at the RMTC. Children will be able to slather orange paint on their hands and leave their hand marks on the 21-foot teepee.

“We’re looking forward to kick-starting the summer,” said Blood Tribe chief and council Travis Plaited Hair. “My son (Travis Jr.) and nephew (Richard First Charger) build teepees on the reserve. The boys delivered a teepee and we want to pay respect to the children who were found in Kamloops. We’re going to set up the teepee outside in the morning and throughout the day the kids can use a roller to dip their hands in orange paint and they can put their hand print on the teepee, all the way around.”

Post time Canada Day is 1 p.m.

There will be seven live thoroughbred races that will go until roughly 3:15 p.m. with the Warrior Relay Races starting at 3:30 p.m.

The Blackfoot Confederacy flag will be flown and everyone in attendance is encouraged to wear orange to honour those lives lost.

In addition to the races and the teepee, there will be plenty of other activities as well.

“We’ll have dancers and a drum group again,” said Plaited Hair. “We’ll be putting on an exhibition outside during the race. It’s going to be a fun day and it’s good to be back here at Bully’s with Max (Gibb) and Rose (Rossi’s) help.”

Plaited Hair said he’s honoured to be a part of the Canada Day festivities and pay tribute, but also to bring back the popular Warrior Relay Races.

“We usually have an Indian Relay with both Max and Rose. It’s been very popular in the past. Of course, the pandemic has shut things down for everyone. This will be the first Indian Relay Race in the region and it’s going to be awesome. People have come out to our races in the past. I know we had a big one here in 2019. We had 4,000 fans in the stands that day.”

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