The legendary Pony Express put St. Joseph on the map 163 years ago. In mid-June, riders are recreating the 2,000-mile postal route from Sacramento. “It’s a big-rooted event in time,” Gina M. Segura, a U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman stated.
The reenactment is taking place over a 10-day period, 24 hours a day, with riders switching off every 10 miles, just as Old West riders would do. A rider is expected to arrive in St. Joseph on the afternoon of June 17.
The Pony Express was a method of connecting the East to the West. Because of thousands of Americans moving west on the Oregon Trail as a result of the Gold Rush, people needed a faster way to deliver mail across the Rocky Mountains. The Pony Express soon became the quickest way to deliver a letter than ever before.
Six hundred riders are taking part in the event. To begin, riders will meet to take the traditional Pony Express Oath before beginning their course to Missouri.
“There’s an oath that the rider must take prior to their journey, and we’ll be sending off our letters,” Segura said. “Only 1,500 lucky customers can get their letters on the horse to make its journey across the states,”
Although the original Pony Express was a minor event in American history, postal service and history buffs commemorate the event every year to keep its tradition and significance alive.
“The postal service got involved because the Sacramento postmaster started sending letters of sisterhood to Missouri,” Segura said. “We thought it would be a fun, unique way to get that across.”
Segura said the Sacramento Postal Customer Council began writing these letters of sisterhood three years ago and sending them by pony. Missouri hopped on board and started sending letters back in fellowship.
More information about the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph is available at www.ponyexpress.org.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice