A piece of mail history comes to life with Pony Express re-ride | NevadaAppeal.com

A piece of mail history comes to life with Pony Express re-ride

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

A crowd of about 70 onlookers made like it was 1860 again, anticipating the arrival of men on horseback and their bounty of letters at the modern-day corner of Third and South Curry streets.

The small crowd applauded as riders dismounted and passed a mochila full of commemorative letters to Jean Bailey, who autographed the leather bag, mounted her 15-year-old quarter horse, “Sooner,” and headed north as part of the 30th annual re-ride of the National Pony Express Association.

“It’s so great to see the exchange,” said Dee Frewert of Carson City, who brought her sons Miles Henry, 3, and Ricky, 10, to see the re-ride.

“Carson City, like Nevada, has a lot of history. People should come out and see it.”

The Pony Express’ legend has long outlasted the time the route was in service. According to the Pony Express National Museum in St. Joseph, Mo., the Pony Express existed from April 3, 1860 until Oct. 24, 1861, when the Pacific Telegraph line was completed, allowing communication by wire.

Bailey has ridden the re-enactment every year since joining the NPEA Nevada division in 1996. It’s an event she says she very much enjoys.

“This is my 12th or 13th year,” Bailey said. “But this is Sooner’s first year. I think he’ll be OK.”

Seven-year-old Kylee Niday helped her grandmother, Melody Kittle of Fallon, hand out NPEA newspapers to the crowd.

“We’re direct descendants of Alexander Majors, who was one of the founders of the Pony Express,” Kittle said.

Austin Munoz, 10, of Las Vegas, is visiting his grandparents in Carson City. His grandfather, Daryl Haines, is a member of the Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association.

SIERA is providing communications statewide for the Nevada riders to ensure their safety and to radio ahead to riders waiting their turn on the trail.

“The horses are the most exciting part,” Austin said.

The 1,966-mile run this year heads west to east from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Mo., via Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. The mail was delivered via Pony Express by the Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Co., covering the distance in 10 days.

Night riders this year will have a full moon during most of their ride.

Riders traditionally were identified by their black cowboy hats, red shirts, yellow bandannas, jeans, boots and of course, a mochila. The ride is the longest-distance annual ride in the United States, surpassing the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska. It runs this year from June 18 through June 28.

To follow the progress of the riders in Nevada, dial 246-3756 or visit http://www.xphomestation.com.

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