A reenactment of the Pony Express ride is in the history books for 2023. Riders left Sacramento, California on June 7th, heading east and arriving in St. Joseph, Missouri June 17th. The “Re-Ride” was organized by the National Pony Express Association. Some 600 plus riders took part in the event in eight states to recreate the famous mail delivery service that ran through California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and into St. Joseph. Saving Americana caught up with some of the riders and will soon have a full story on this historic ride. This year, winter rains and late spring storms had a big impact on the riders. Much of the route is much greener this year — the Nevada desert and eastern Wyoming is a carpet of green rarely seen this time of year.
In some places the the riders were met with a sea of Mormon crickets. At one spot in central Nevada we saw a sea of the bugs moving along the road. The wet weather also forced riders to make some minor detours. But the changes really made the ride that much more authentic — because the originally riders were constantly improvising on their race to deliver the mail.
Ironically the real Pony Express in the 1860’s, only lasted 19 months, put out of business by the telegraph. But the Pony Express has been celebrated ever since. A century later, in the 1960’s horse lovers began to re-ride the old trail — and the tradition continues today. The leather mochila — with four pockets for letters — is passed from horse to horse every 2-3 miles — a relay that runs 1,966 miles. They ride 24 hours a day, and will deliver over a thousand pieces of actual mail — the pouches locked in Sacramento, and unlocked in St. Joseph. Planning for next year is already underway.