FROM: Dean Atkin National Pony Express President Re-Ride News Letter 2017
Just like the sound of the horse hoofs beat falls silent in the fall of 1861, the last dispatched mail delivered and the horses and men disbanded onto greatness, so it is the same of the 2017 Pony Express Re-ride.
Unlike the last ride in 1861, the mochila left St. Joseph, Missouri with over 1000 letters, on their way to locations all over the world. Leaving St. Jo with a shout instead of a cannon shot, it left at 3:00 PM, June 5, 2017, headed for Sacramento.
The temperature reaching 90 degrees from St. Joseph to Western Nebraska. To the relief of the riders we received a generous rain storm. Something about Colorado that brings out the best in Mother Nature. Wyoming brought cooler, right down to COLD weather in Atlantic City to keep the riders and horses on their toes.
We enjoyed the Wyoming breeze at Martins’s Cove. Their must have been a tail wind because the mail was moving at a break neck speed, until we got to Granger, Wyoming where neither river or wind could stop the speed of the pony but a train across the trail stretching a mile each way did. With a wait of 45 minutes, we were on our way once again. Time lost but still close to being on time.
Utah moved the mail safely with stops in Salt Lake, Fairfield Station, Simpson Springs and through the night. With the strong South wind stopping and a cooler breeze from the North greeted us. From your weather watcher of the desert country that means only one thing, STORMS. With the cooler temperature the riders reached for their warmer clothes( that were left at home). By evening they were wishing they had brought them along.
Nevada had rain that evening changing to snow by morning. Six to eight inches on the mountain passes. With riders waiting for their turn to ride, made for a very cold, dark night. With all of this came the mud. We will all have to wait for the video to come out this fall to see all that was done to make the ride happen. It snowed all the way to Cold Springs Station. A big THANK YOU for all your hard work in Eastern Nevada. Once out of the mud, heading West from Austin, all went well. Through that night, we were on time or ahead of schedule onto Carson City, Reno, up Kingsbury Grade and into Lake Tahoe.
California moved the mail with its usual efficiency, by horse back, across rivers, even a short ride by train onto Folsom and down the American River to Sacramento.
June 15,2017 4:40 PM. On time to the waiting crowd. Mail was post marked and ready for delivery by the US Postal Service.
This year went very well. One delay occurred when Craton Moiser’s horse went down on the wet road side. The horse landed on Craton’s leg, breaking it near Oaks, Nebraska. Bob Moore, our 93 year old rider lost his mount by Lake Tahoe. Last report was he is doing well considering the fall. David Kittle had a small stroke after the re-ride and is recovering and doing well. Art Johnson and his horse hit a fence in the dark, landing on the other side. He gathered himself, his horse and the mochila and rode on. Both horse and man doing well. (A little sore the next day).
I just wanted to thank everyone for all you did to make the re-ride so successful. It is all of you (horses included ) that made it happen and would not be possible without all your support and hard work.
I’m sure there at more stories to be told around a warm camp fire, swapping tales of victory and defeat. Tales to tell about “When I rode in the Pony Express”! Thanks for all your dedication and hard work.
Your servant: Dean Atkin