In mid September, when summer crowds turn in and fall colors take their place, the Indian Horse Relay Championship of Champions comes to Casper and our mountain town runs untamed. From the contagious Native American culture to the impeccable sportsmanship and athleticism of the sport's best competitors, the Indian Horse Relay is simply an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
Quickly achieving recognition throughout the West, this premier event features only the best riders from the United States and Canada as they compete in multiple thrilling races. For those of you who are not familiar, Indian Relay is a highly competitive. traditional Native American sport that consists of four Warriors and three Thoroughbred/Quarter horses that compete on a half-mile circle race track. With six teams on the track, this event showcases the horsemanship skills, coordination, speed and sportsmanship of 24 Warriors and 18 horses. & just when we thought the rodeo was the wildest event of the year!
The event kicks off with the "All Star Indian Relay Race Battle of the Nations" on September 23rd at 5:00pm followed by the Championship of Champions, presented by the Wind River Hotel & Casino and Northern Arapahoe, September 24th, 25th and 26th at Central Wyoming Fairgrounds.
To build excitement, and help you fill your weekend itinerary, we've gathered 9 Things to Do in Casper During the Horse Nations Indian Relay Championship of Champions below:
1. REVEL IN DOWNTOWN CASPER
History meets modern hustle in the heart of downtown Casper. From rich culture and fascinating western history of those who came before us to a lively community full of shopping, eateries and entertainment, Downtown Casper is the place to be before and after the weekend's races.
Grab a bite with the family at one of our many delicious restaurants. From mouth watering burgers at the Branding Iron to wood fired pizza at Racca's Pizzeria Napolotena, downtown has a little something for every taste bud. After you fill up, stretch your legs and stroll the charming streets. On your adventure you will find endless shopping, sweet treats, colorful murals and more. Don't forget to stop into the 100 year old, family owned Lou Tauberts Ranch Outfitters - home to 10,000 cowboy boots!
Bonus: On Saturday, September 25th 10:00am - 2:00pm, David Street Station is hosting their annual "Hello to Fall" Festival. Meet us at the station for this free event where the community will celebrate all things fall with a pumpkin patch, train and horse carriage rides, apple cider tastings, pumpkin bowling, local vendors and more! Okay we will just come out and say it... not only will this event bring out the inner kid in you, BUT it is bound to wear out the kiddos so you can fully partake in the Horse Nations Indian Relay Championship of Champions as you deserve!
2. TASTE THE WEST
Home to five local breweries, Casper is a meca for bold, Wyoming hops and creative craft brews. If you're a microbrew connoisseur, you may have just met your match this weekend. With five local staples to sip from, your brew adventures are truly endless here in the Oil City.
We recommend starting your brew tasting at Mountain Hops - one of Casper's newest watering holes. Order a flight, kick back on their beautiful outdoor patio and throw a cornhole bag or two with the whole family in the sunshine.
If views, deep dish and local pours are more of your scene, head to Gruner Brothers. Not only do they have the best view in town... rumor has it they are introducing a chili porter this fall. Yum!
Finally, we couldn't talk Casper craft beer without nodding to the one that led the way - Frontier Brewing. Frontier is not only beloved by locals and visitors alike for their fun downtown location and true Wyoming selection, but they have an amazing live music lineup. No matter where your feet land, you are bound to find your perfect relay race escape at one of our Casper microbreweries.
3. ATTEND THE "ALL STAR BATTLE OF THE NATIONS" & KIDS NIGHT ON THURSDAY
Don't miss the first ever “All Star Indian Relay Race Battle of the Nations” on Thursday, September 23rd, 5pm. Considered the "most extreme horse race on the track", it will be tribe vs. tribe in this jaw dropping event. Riders will race bareback for 3 laps on 3 horses, striving to cross the finish line first. Teams will fight for their chance to take home the first ever 2021 Championship in the All Star Indian Relay Race to their tribal nation, and you're going to want to witness it. Trust us! Oh did we mention it's family night AND it's free? Yes you read that right. Fearless mini competitors will also be taking to the track with their friends and favorite ponies! Bring the whole crew for fun, family and vendors!
4. WATCH THE HAND DRUM COMPETITIONS
Need we say more? Don't get us wrong... we're thrilled to keep our eyes peeled for the titled champions. However, there's something about the in-between moments of this weekend that have us wanting more. The Hand Drum Competitions will take place Friday and Saturday during intermission - races start at 2:00pm! There's truly no better way to celebrate and experience Horse Nations culture than this. Find your seats and keep them - you'll want to stick around for this performance!
5. THROW AN AXE
For good ol' fashioned, Wyoming entertainment, look no further than the axe throwing scene that has taken off in Casper. Whether you are looking to test your skills or simply share a bite and a brew with good company, The Dirty Axe or Oil City Axe Company are the hot places to be in town - especially during the Indian Relay Races!
6. GET YOUR FALL FIX ON CASPER MOUNTAIN
Although our autumn season tends to be fleeting, fall in Casper, Wyoming is nothing short of stunning. Better yet, the Indian Horse Relay Championship of Champions come to town at truly the perfect time of year. If you're looking for your fall fix in Wyoming, we have just the place. Casper Mountain is heaven on earth for chasing down fall colors and soaking in the outdoors during the turn of the season. Take the short hike (less than a mile in and out) to Garden Creek Falls at Rotary Park or opt for something more advanced with the Bridle Trail loop. If you and the family are hoping to catch up on some much needed R&R over the weekend, forgo the workout and take the scenic drive up Casper Mountain. Let the winding mountain road lead you through towering pine trees and golden aspens all above the sweeping city lights below.
Insider tip: On your way back down the mountain on Casper Mountain Road, take the time to pull off at Lookout Point. Turn your lights off, sit on top of the tailgate and soak in a night sky of stars. It's worth it - trust us on this one!
7. Explore our Western Waters
We may be biased. but when it comes to western water activities, Casper Wyoming always, always comes out on top. Whether you're looking to catch a trophy trout on the North Platte River or break for a picnic along the riverbank, our mountain town boasts water adventures worth bragging about.
For prime fall colors, check out Morad Park just west of Downtown Casper. Not only is there a dog park down at Morad Park but there is a beautiful walkway and a river access point (in case you're brave enough to wade in and get wet!).
If fly fishing the Wild West has been on your bucket list for quite some time, now may be the time to splurge. Local, Wyoming anglers and guides love fishing the Grey Reef and Miracle Mile in autumn, and for good reason! Cooler temps, stunning landscapes and hungry giants? What else could a fisherman ask for?
No matter your western water experience, gear up for the experience of a lifetime in Casper.
If cooler, fall temps are not beckoning you this trip, don't worry - Casper has plenty of indoor activities for the whole family. Don't miss the Casper Family Aquatic Center for an epic afternoon. This indoor water park boasts water slides, a lazy river and an indoor splash pad.
8. Find Your Muse at a Museum or Art Gallery
After the dust on the track settles and the Champions take their titles, fill your remaining weekend itinerary with one of our unbeatable, local museums or art galleries. Rich in culture, history and diverse art, these staples are sure to leave you inspired on your way back home:
Starting us off, Scarlow's Art & Coffee is a must-stop on your local art tour. Marvel in curated pieces, order a specialty latte (you'll need it after a busy weekend!) and soak in the stunning interiors of this downtown hideaway. Don't forget to stop in next store at Goedick's for an artsy souvenir!
Adventuring on, The Nicolaysen Art Museum is another sweet escape. From local, Wyoming artists to world famous icons like Salvador Dali, The NIC hosts a diverse modern collection in a captivating space. Check their event calendar often - they are known to host fun workshops and classes for kiddos.
Finally, if you're looking to experience and learn more about our western history, the National Historic Interpretive Trails Center is your home away from home. Celebrating 20 years in Casper next year, The Trails Center commemorates Native American history, early explorers, and the travel corridor of the Oregon, Mormon, California, and Pony Express trails, as well as the Bridger and Bozeman trails through hands-on, interactive exhibits in seven galleries and an 18 minute multi-media program. Best part? It's FREE!
Want more? We’ve got it! For all of Casper’s awe-inspiring art galleries and museums click here.
9. Experience Casper's Nightlife
When the athletes turn in and the city lights glow, Casper comes alive. Celebrate a successful weekend by hitting the town in style. Wander to Backwards Distilling Company to sip on small batch, local spirits such as Ringleader Vodka, Contortionist Gin, Milk Can Moonshine and more - served up as an elevated cocktail to savor in an eclectic downtown Tasting Room. After sipping pretty with Backwards, walk on over to Gaslight Social to take on your friends and family to an arcade game or two. From endless live music to hopping barcades and distilleries, we promise our mountain town has the night cap you've been waiting for.
So what's keeping you adventurers? Come join us for the West's hottest event and make memories in Casper at the Horse Nations Indian Relay Championship of Champions. Snag your tickets here and follow along with us on social media for more. See you soon!