May 28, 2010–The National Pony Express Association (NPEA) will conduct its annual re-ride over the 1,966-mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas to Missouri, June 6-26, 2010.
The event commemorates the Pony Express of 1860-1861. The year 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express. The Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments books, and the annual re-creations by the NPEA.
Normally, this re-ride is a 10-day, 24-hour-a-day, non-stop event by over 500 riders and horses. In 2010 the re-ride will divert to all daytime hours in most places. This gives communities a chance to hold celebrations. The mail will be carried by ferry from San Francisco to Sacramento before the start of the ride .
Each of the eight “Pony Express” states (California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri) will also be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express with events of their own, as well as creating their own souvenirs.
Riders will carry commemorative letters in a Mochila, Pony-Express style. The cachets, honoring Pony Express history, will be available for purchase by NPEA members, historians and philatelists. The envelopes will show they were carried by the Pony Express and the first class postage will have a special U.S. Postal Service cancellation. Only the number of letters purchased will be carried.
Communications between Riders and Ride Captains will be provided by amateur radio operators in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, eastern Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas. Ham radio is an important part of this re-ride because there are many parts of the trail that communication by other means is not available. When Riders are many times in an area where the hams are unable to follow ham operators are placed at various checkpoints/exchanges (where the mochilla is passed from one horse to another) and communicate to net control the position and time of arrival and departure. This gives those personnel responsible for that part of the reride information as to where the rider is and if the mail is on time. Naturally any emergency can be handled by the hams, such as injuries to riders or horses.
A GPS transmitter will be carried in one of the cantinas on the Mochila.The size of a deck of cards, the GPS unit will transmitt the location of the Mochila to a satellite. This information will be available online allowing one to follow the progress of rider and mail in real time. A link to the web page are listed below.
Look for more information on the re-ride and follow the riders. Read more about the Pony Express in EQUUS 393, June 2010.