Pony Express demonstrations given at Rendezvous
June 12, 2003
When the Pony Express was created in 1860, it took two weeks to deliver a letter from New York to California. By sea, it took nearly six months. The Express was an amazing creation.
The Nevada division of the Pony Express Association is recreating this history for the Rendezvous on Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.
The association will give demonstrations showing a rider and his horse and gear. The gear includes a mochilla, a large mail bag used to hold about four smaller bags, that is flung over the top of the saddle, said Robert Stark, president of the Nevada division.
Stark said the association is going to discuss the history of the Pony Express, how it was set up, how it was created.
Stark said the association began an annual re-ride of the original Pony Express route on June 8 in Missouri. Many volunteers from the more than 550-member organizations will participate in the ride from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento. Participating members ages 14 to 94 will travel a portion of the 1,966-mile track. The journey takes 10 days to complete.
“Our riders will ride 1 to 10 miles,” Stark said. “It depends on the experience of the rider and the health of the horse.”
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Original Pony Express riders rode an average of 75-100 miles and changed horses every 15-20 miles, Stark added.
Riders will wear a uniform consisting of a red shirt and yellow bandana. There is an old wives’ tale that says the initial riders were required to wear red but there is no proof, Stark said.
To send a letter costs $5, the original cost of letters in 1860.
“We are a great company; we’ve kept the same price for over 100 years,” Stark joked.
To purchase a letter to be delivered by the Pony Express Association, contact Stark at 846-8827. There will also be applications at the Rendezvous demonstrations.
IF YOU GO
What: Pony Express Demonstrations
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday
Where: Mills Park