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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Wreck at WYO: A Jockey's View
by Ashton Old Elk
credits: photo by Stacey Ellenwood
Ashton Old Elk, 16, is a member of a Crow Indian tribe in Lodge Grass, Mont. He wrote this essay about his experience competing in the Indian Relay at the 2008 WYO Rodeo in Sheridan, Wyo., for Gary Overton's English class at Lodge Grass High School.

It was a hot summer day on July 11, 2008. I was in Sheridan, Wyo., for the WYO Rodeo and Indian Relay. I was just going to watch, but I ended up riding in the Indian Relay for a team from Wyola. We got ready and went onto the track. All the teams lined up to start the race. I had the butterflies. There were five teams in the race. The starter said, “Go!”

We all swung up on our first horses as fast as we could. We went around the first turn. A couple of horses blew the turn. One horse ran into the fence. We went around the track. We came in for our first exchange. When I came in for my exchange and jumped off, it seemed like everything slowed down. I jumped on my second horse as fast as I could. Then, I headed out around the track and I was in the lead by about ten lengths.

I came around the last turn and I came in for my last exchange. When I jumped off, everything slowed down again. I jumped on my last horse and as I tried to head out, my holder pulled on the lead rope and my horse flipped back with me on it and fell on me. My horse got up and took off. When I got up, I tried to walk, but my leg was already getting swollen. I hopped to the side rail and the people around me told me to lie down because the ambulance was coming. I kept trying to get back up because I didn't want to go to the hospital in the ambulance, but they said I might mess it up even more because it was swollen and I might have a broken leg.

My ankle was broken, but I'm off crutches now. I can't wait for next year's Indian Relay.

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