U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
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Trails Center hosts annual Pony Express Re-Ride June 15, 2007

By Reid Miller & Lesley Collins, BLM

Visitors at the NHTIC anxiously await the arrival of the first Pony Express Rider.

Visitors at the NHTIC anxiously await the arrival of the first Pony Express Rider.

Re-enactor Jay Jensen arrives, galloping from the east.

Re-enactor Jay Jensen arrives, galloping from the east.

Pony Express re-enactors remove the mochila from Jensen’s horse & prepare to transfer it to a fresh horse & rider.

Pony Express re-enactors remove the mochila from Jensen’s horse & prepare to transfer it to a fresh horse & rider.

Re-enactor Julie Greiner leaves the Trails Center & starts her portion of the Pony Express ride.

Re-enactor Julie Greiner leaves the Trails Center & starts her portion of the Pony Express ride.

A small group of riders in distinctive red shirts and nearly one hundred visitors waited patiently at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC), scanning the eastern horizon for a lone Pony Express rider. Suddenly, in the otherwise stifling midday heat, cheers rose from the crowd as rider Jay Jensen galloped toward the group, stopping abruptly at their feet to pass the mail to Julie Greiner. One of several dedicated re-enactors participating in the event, Greiner then galloped away on her horse, astride a four-pocket leather mochila, with letters bound for Sacramento, California.

For the fifth consecutive year the NHTIC served as an exchange site during the National Pony Express Association’s annual re-ride through Casper on Friday, June 15th. The ride commemorates the bold effort that transported the United States mail between telegraph terminal points in Missouri and California in 1860 and 1861. Riders carry and safeguard a mochila, filled with commemorative letters and personal mail, along the 1,900 mile trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.

The public was invited to view the exchange from the NHTIC’s outdoor plaza and visit the Center free-of-charge, to learn more about the legendary enterprise, the Pony Express.

This year, members of the NPEA arrived in Wyoming near Torrington on Thursday afternoon, June 14 and departed the state Saturday night, June 16, according to Les Bennington, president of NPEA’s Wyoming division. The ride is conducted 24 hours a day, and every two to five miles a rider changes horses. Just as in 1860, the riders complete the route in 10 days. Nearly 125 Wyoming riders participated in the event. Historically, Wyoming offered fewer riders a longer turn in the saddle. Riders at either end of the route, however, are so numerous that they will only ride a short distance before passing the mail to the next rider.

Next year the re-ride will travel from west to east, representing the original operation which carried mail in both directions.

“We do this because we love history and we love horses,” Bennington said. “We also want to keep the spirit alive that was part of the settling of this country.”

For more information about this annual event please contact the Bureau of Land Management's NHTIC at (307)261-7700. The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation.


 
Last updated: 05-13-2008