Cozad, NE – The famed mail service that only lasted 18 months nearly 160 years ago rides again as the National Pony Express Association (NPEA) conducts the annual 2019 re-ride across eight states.
The journey began in St. Joseph Missouri on Monday, June 10 following the Pony Express National Historic Trail and is expected to arrive in Old Sacramento, California on Thursday, June 20 at 4:30 PM.
Six-hundred relay riders on horse back will have carried a mail filled
mochila – a leather square with four cantinas (pockets) sewn in the corners, and fitting over their saddles – with commemorative letters and personal mail over a span of 10 days.
The commemorative letters in this year’s mochila will be a Vignette of Pony Express History in Colorado Territory.
“We do the re-ride, as far as an organization, just to keep the legend alive,” says Lyle Gronewold, the Nebraska State Division President for the NPEA.
Riders in every eight state divisions, 200 riders in the Nebraska division, will take the Pony Express Oath and receive a Bible prior to riding. Riders average one to five miles each as they take turns transporting the mail 24 hours a day as they did years ago.
On Wednesday, June 12 at 1:15 PM the mail was carried into the city of Cozad to the Veterans Memorial Park where the Willow Island relay station sits after being relocated from Darr, Nebraska to Cozad for preservation.
“We’re just really fortunate in this area between Cozad and Gothenburg, which is ten miles, we have the one (station) in the Gothenburg park that came from between Brady and Maxwell, part of the 96 Ranch of the Williams Family, and then the 96 Ranch south of Gothenburg three miles is the original cabin. No other state has anything like that,” says Gronewold.
Many local riders are involved in the re-ride every year. Stephanie Wolf, a native of Cozad, began her day early Wednesday morning in Kearney riding a total of six miles switching between two different horses.
The route is over the Pony Express National Historical Trail, a component of the National Trails System administered by the National Park Service. From Missouri, the mail will travel 1,966 miles through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, to California.
For more information on the history of the Pony Express go to: https://nationalponyexpress.org/
To follow the ride as it travels to California go to: https://nationalponyexpress.org/annual-re-ride/follow-the-ride/