Pony Express riders will carry mail by relay next week from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif. They will make three stops in Utah and many other places between the two points.
The 10-day, 240-hour trek will cover 1,966 miles over the Pony Express National Historic Trail through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.Riders are scheduled to leave Evanston, Wyo., at 1 a.m. Monday, June 14, and arrive in Murray between 10 and 10:30 a.m. the same day. A change of riders will take place just east of a Utah National Guard Armory at 5189 S. State.
From there, riders will travel to Simpson Springs and Ibapah, both in Tooele County, said Fred Abernethy, Taylorsville, immediate past president of the Utah division and a vice president of the National Pony Express Association. "This is the 23rd consecutive year of the re-enactment of the Pony Express. We have approximately 80 to 95 members in Utah, with about 60 to 80 of that number planning to ride this year," said George Lange, Riverton, state president.
Members of the National Pony Express Association, an all-volunteer group with headquarters in Pollock Pines, Calif., will make the cross-country ride.
They will carry commemorative letters in a mochila, a leather square with four pockets or cantinas sewn in each corner, which fits snugly over the saddle and under the rider. The cantinas will be locked until their arrival in Sacramento's Pony Express Plaza at noon Friday, June 18. The ride will conclude during that city's 1999 Railfair.
Bearing 33-cent commemorative issue Gold Rush Stamps, the letters will honor Pony Express history in Missouri. The stamps will be issued by the U.S. Postal Service to observe the 1849 California gold rush. The stamps will receive a first-day cancellation following the Sacramento welcoming ceremony.
Pony Express riders carried letters and telegrams for 18 months in 1860 and 1861. They hoped to demonstrate that a central route through the Salt Lake area and Placerville, Calif., was passable even during the winter. Although the Pony Express ended in financial disaster upon completion of the transcontinental telegraph, it is remembered as a symbol of the Old West, group officials say.