The National Pony Express Association will relay mail by horse and rider over the famed Pony Express Trail with the first riders taking the mail this morning.
Since 1980, the Pollock Pines, Calif.,-based group has conducted a re-ride of the mail route each June.
Personal mail and Commemorative Letters will be carried by horseback, 1,966 miles from the Sacramento River to the Missouri River. The first rider leaves Pony Express Plaza, 2nd and J Streets, Old Sacramento, California, at 10 a.m. today.
The route will be over the Pony Express National Historic Trail, a component of the National Trails System, administered by the National Park Service. Beginning in Central California, it crosses Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas to Missouri. The event is the longest equestrian event (in distance) in the nation.
Zip Upham of Fallon, a frequent rider along with his wife Nancy, said many Nevada riders will be participating. Upham said one rider will carry the mail, but two to three riders usually accompany the mail carrier.
Riders who are coming from the Fort Churchill area will enter Churchill County late Thursday night, early Friday morning and will skirt the southern part of the county near the Top Gun Raceway, cross U.S. Highway 95, and then head east toward the Salt Wells Geothermal Plant. Upham said the route will take the riders east of Sand Mountain, over a pass and then toward Middlegate and Cold Springs. Upham said the exchange of mail at Cold Springs should occur Friday morning at 7:30 a.m.
About 600 riders from the NPEA’s eight state divisions will — in the custom of the founders — take the Pony Express Oath and receive a Bible prior to participating. Riding relays of 1 to 5 miles, they will take turns transporting a mail filled mochila (a leather square with four pockets). The goal to reach St. Joseph on time.
The re-ride is a 10-day, 24 hour-a-day event honoring the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, founded by Russell, Majors and Waddell, a Missouri freighting firm. It carried letters and telegrams from April 1860 to November 1861, to prove the Central Route passable year-round to win a federal mail contract.
The Commemorative Letter will be a Vignette of Pony Express history in Nevada (then Utah Territory), and a Celebration of the Centennial of the National Park Service. Th
Information and updates on the re-ride will be available from several sources. The Pony Express Home Station, www.xphomestation.com, will have coverage including schedules, reports and photos. Reports will also be found on Facebook (National Pony Express Association). A GPS Unit in the mochila will transmit real-time location of the mochila/mail, and can be followed on Pony Express Tracker.Com. A Nevada Telephone Hotline (855)809-8589 with recorded reports of rider locations will be active Friday-Saturday and provided by Sierra Intermountain Radio Association. Additional Information can be obtained by contacting the National Pony Express Association at 916-332-8382.
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