Annual Pony Express Re-Ride gallops through Wyoming
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Over 10 days, more than 750 riders will work as a relay team to re-trace the Pony Express trail through eight states.
The Pony Express only operated for 18 months, but the mail delivery became a symbol of the Old West. Most of the original trail has been destroyed by time or human activities. For many segments, the trail’s actual route and exact length are not agreed upon. Short segments, believed to be traces of the original trail, can be seen only in Utah and California. It is estimated that 120 historic sites may eventually be available to the public, including 50 existing Pony Express stations or station ruins.
“Every year we honor the Pony Express. It was a very important part of our history,” said Ride Captain Deidra Homann.
Riders crossed into Wyoming on Thursday night and will cross the state, making their way into Utah on Sunday. In total, the 150 Wyoming riders will cover nearly 400 miles. Riders and horses make their way across the trail 24-hours a day until they complete the ride.
In Nebraska, the re-ride was delayed due to dangerous weather, but Wyoming riders have started to make up for the lost time. After being delayed about two and a half hours, it was estimated riders were only an hour behind when a switch happened near the Sinclair Refinery in Evansville.
While concerns for the riders and horses are appreciated, the re-riders emphasize that safety is key. Riders have to provide their own horses, and they don’t want to hurt their pets.
“We do everything towards the safety of the horses, that’s why when the storms came up we held off for about an hour. It’s a minimum of a trot however, the horses are brought up for the time frame, we call it legged up so that they are ready for the ride or rides,” said Homann.
Along the trail, a lone rider and their horse work as a team to get to their meeting point. When riders and horses trade out, a leather mochila filled with about 1,000 letters is passed along until it arrives in California.
Riders wear a GPS that “pings” a satellite every five minutes, the ride can be tracked online by clicking here. To read rider reports from the trail click here.
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