History relived on the Pony Express Trail

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Bob Parker rides Murphy down Curry Street on Tuesday morning during the 27th annual re-ride of the Pony Express Trail.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Bob Parker rides Murphy down Curry Street on Tuesday morning during the 27th annual re-ride of the Pony Express Trail.

As he rode south on Curry Street on Tuesday, Pony Express rider Jason Royer let out a holler and brought his horse Moose to a stop at the intersection with Third Street to exchange a historic mochila with rider Bob Parker.

The mochila contains more than 1,100 commemorative letters.

The 27th annual re-ride of the Pony Express Trail began June 12 in St. Joseph, Mo., and ends today in Old Sacramento at the Pony Express Plaza.

His horse sweating and panting from the ride, Royer was excited as he talked with other members of the National Pony Express Association Nevada Division.

"This is something I look forward to every year," said Royer after checking out Moose's hooves. Royer rode in about 1 hour and 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

"(Moose) slipped on some shale coming down Dump Hill. He'll be OK. He just needs some water.

"This is reliving history. You can't do it any other way."

More than 150 riders covered the 403-mile route across Nevada. Each rider is assigned a route with an approximate riding time allotment. Keeping tabs on the riders' whereabouts by ham radio were members of the Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association. Will Lewis, a member of the club, said about 65 ham radio operators assisted with communications.

Each state division along the route has its own dress uniform. The Nevada Division wears a black hat, yellow bandanna, red shirt, blue jeans and boots. The Nevada Division also offers educational presentations on the history of the Pony Express.

Rider Gary Nezos took over at Chavez Road, through the River Park subdivision to River Road, making up for time lost overnight.

"I was allotted 45 minutes for my section - I made it in 15," Nezos said proudly.

"This re-ride makes me respect the riders of 1860 a lot."

The mail was delivered from April 1860 to November 1861 by The Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Co. Attending the full 10-day re-ride is NPEA President David Sanner. Sanner rode a section of the trail from Simpson Springs, Utah, west.

"I like this ride," Sanner said. "Good weather helps."

Nezos's ride captain is Debbie Royer, who also made quick time along her route.

"I have to give thanks to Reynen-Bardis developers," Royer said. "They had someone at the gates along their development to open them for us. They've been really nice to us and I want to say thank you."

Nezos was cheered on by his grandchildren Seth, 12, Danielle, 9, and Nolan Kippenhan, 8, all of Carson City.

Seth has read about the Pony Express in history books, and enjoyed watching his grandfather from a vehicle on the highway.

"It's fun," he said. "I like watching him."

After slinging the mochila atop his saddle, Parker autographed the leather bag, as all riders do, and mounted his ride, Murphy, a 22-year-old female mustang.

"I really enjoy the horseback riding aspect of this," Parker said.

Parker rode to Bodine's Restaurant at Highway 395 and Clear Creek Road, where daughter Sue Bukowy would take over and ride 4.8 miles to the Jacks Valley Fire Department.

"Now it's time to go home," said Edward Lynch, a Nine Mile Falls, Wash., resident who participated in the ride.

n Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.


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