SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Pony Express rerun is around the corner.
Starting Monday, the National Pony Express Association will start its annual ride. It will start 3 p.m. from the Patee House Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, and arrive at 4:30 p.m. June 20 at Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento, California.
The route follows the Pony Express National Historic Trail, a component of the National Trails System administered by the National Park Service. From Missouri, mail will go 1,966 miles through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.
The 10-day, 24-hour reride will have 600 riders from the National Pony Express Association’s eight-state divisions. They will take the Pony Express oath and receive a Bible prior to riding. Riding relays of 1 to 5 miles each, they will take turns transporting a mail-filled mochila, a leather square with four cantinas, or pockets sewn in the corners, and fitting over their saddles.
Commemorative letters and personal mail will be carried by horse and rider relays from the Missouri River to the Sacramento River.
Commemorative letters riders will be transporting in this year’s mochila will be a vignette of Pony Express history in the Colorado Territory. The cachets can be purchased at the 1860 price of $5. Letter applications can be obtained by downloading them from nationalponyexpress.org.
About 160 riders will travel through in Wyoming, and counting support staff and families there will be at least 200 participants, Wyoming Pony Express State President Les Bennington told the Rocket-Miner.
“It’s all volunteers,” Bennington said. “We’ve got a lot of dedicated people and good horse people, that’s what makes it happen. Each individual does their job.”
The requirements include owning or having access to a horse, being at least 14 years old, having parental permission if the rider is under 18, and having a desire to do it, Bennington said.
The goal is to ride at least 1 mile every six minutes, or 10 miles an hour.
“It’s amazing, we’ve got 2,000 miles to go in 10 days,” Bennington said. “We got to average 10 miles an hour or more.”
In Wyoming, the ride will start from Torrington at 7 a.m. June 14 and travel across the state. In Sweetwater County, riders will get to Farson around 2 p.m. June 15 with stops at Green River Crossing at 4 p.m. and Granger at 5:30 p.m before proceeding to Uinta County. It is scheduled to reach the Utah line at 2 a.m. June 16.
“That’s assuming everything goes as planned,” he said.
ABOUT THE PONY EXPRESS
The event honors the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company founded by Russell, Majors and Waddell, a Missouri freighting firm, and the parent company of the Pony Express. Riders carried letters and telegrams from April 1860 to November 1861 to prove the central route through Salt Lake City and Placerville, California, was passable year-round and win a proposed federal mail contract.
“The event helps keep the history of the western U.S. alive,” Bennington said.
It’s an unique event. The Pony Express was a race against time, terrain and weather. It didn’t really involve any bloodshed, he said.
Residents will also be able to track the event. A GPS unit in the mochila will transmit real-time location of the mochila and will be found on nationalponyexpress.org/annual-reride/follow-the-ride. People can also call 1-855-809-8589 to listen to recorded reports of rider locations.
For more information, go to www.facebook.com/expressrider or call 916-332-8382.