Scotts Bluff National Monument

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The Pony Express basically followed the Platte River. The trail passed through significants land marks such as, Scotts Bluff and Chimney Rock.

Rock Creek Station

History about  Rock Creek Station in NE   Read More…

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Although the 157th, 1,966-mile commemorative Re-Ride began June 5 at the former headquarters for the pony express in St. Joseph,, Continue Reading

Pony Express gallops through the Valley

Back in 1860,  a small group of riders for the Pony Express would make the ten day trek from Missouri, Continue Reading

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THE PONY GOES TO LINCOLN! by Mary Cone

The USPS Nebraska Sesquicentennial stamp will be on all the Re-Ride letters

Statehood Day in Lincoln, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017, celebrated Nebraska’s 150th birthday!  The Nebraska Division of the National Pony Express Association was proud and privileged to be a big part of the day’s ceremonies.  

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts greets Mary Cone at the Statehood Celebration

24 Pony Riders carried a copy of the original 1867 statehood document, which was signed by President Andrew Johnson, to Governor Pete Ricketts.   Governor Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore greeted the Pony Riders on the west side of the State Capitol Building at 1:15pm.  The Governor asked if we had ridden all the way from St. Joe.  We hadn’t.  Our trailer parking/staging area was in a state-owned parking lot, located just a few blocks from the Capitol.  We had processed by two’s from there, completely circling the Capitol Building, which is set on 4 square city blocks.  Two City of Lincoln Police cruisers escorted the group, front and back, for safe passage.

Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska NPEA President Lyle Gronewold

The front pair of Pony Riders carried the United States (Dick Heinrichs) and Nebraska (Audie Taylor) Flags.  The third pair back carried the yellow XP Flag (Todd Heinrichs) and the Red 150th XP Flag (Alissa Overy).  The second pair was Lyle Gronewold, who rode the 1991 National Re-Ride Mochila and carried the Statehood Day Proclamation and XP print, and Mary Cone, who rode the banner behind her saddle which graced the National Capitol lawn in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2010, while on a horse behind then-NPEA President Les Bennington’s saddle.  Betty Taylor rode the Nebraska 150th mochila that was specially made by the Nebraska Division for 2010.  The Pony Riders were a fine and noble sight and stirred tremendous excitement in the hearts of the mostly city-dwelling crowd.  The horses seemed to sense that it was a special occasion and behaved most admirably.  

Pony Riders in front of the Capitol

NPEA, Nebraska Division, Lyle Gronewold of Gothenburg, presented the Governor with the proclamation.  This document would be read by the Nebraska Secretary of State during the official ceremony at 2:00pm inside the Capitol building.  Lyle then presented the Governor and First Lady with an official 150th XP Kohler Print from the 2010 Pony Express Sesquicentennial Celebration.   He explained the significance of the print to Pony Express history.   He also gave the First Couple a map of the XP Route that was printed in 2010, to also celebrate The Pony’s 150th year anniversary.   Lyle shared that his daughter, Stepheanie, had artfully recreated some of the old XP station pictures that are found around the map’s border.  The original station pictures were not available in a reproducible form, so these needed to be drawn by hand.

Mary Cone presents a framed Re-Ride letter to the Governor

 

Mary Cone, Nebraska Trail Captain from Roscoe, then presented the Governor and First Lady with a specially framed 2017 Re-Ride Letter and Envelope.  The Governor commented that his son is named Roscoe and that they had once stopped and taken a picture under the highway sign!  Though not carried over the 1966-mile Pony Express National Historic Trail, this framed letter became the first 2017 Re-Ride Letter to be “delivered” by the Pony Express.  Mary explained the significance of the letter to the Governor and First Lady, telling of how 1000-1100 letters will be carried from St. Joe to Sacramento from June 5-15 this year.  Of great interest to them was the obvious presence of the USPS Nebraska Sesquicentennial Forever Stamp, which will adorn each letter that will be carried during the Re-Ride in June.

Audie Taylor carried the Nebraska State Flag

A picture of Chimney Rock is also on the envelope, as well as a picture of the Re-Ride Pin (which will also feature Chimney Rock).  The Re-Ride Pin will be in blue and gold, to complement the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Logo colors.  The Re-Ride Letter is a narrative about The Great Platte River Road through Nebraska and also mentions Chimney Rock, to tie in with the 2017 special year’s theme.  Both the river and consummate trail icon are pictured in the Official Nebraska Sesquicentennial Seal.

Alissa Overy carrying the Red 150th XP Flag

The Governor asked where everyone was from and shouts hailed from the Pony Riders:  Blue Hill, Roca, Hebron, Endicott, Chester, Snyder, Gothenburg, Fairbury, Cozad, Steele City, Glenvil, Brady.  He then thanked us warmly for participating in the special day, and departed off to the Capitol Building for the official Statehood Day Celebration Ceremony inside the Legislative Chambers.

On Statehood Day in Lincoln on March 1, 2017, some young Pony Riders rode to the Capitol instead of attending their

Lyle presents the poster to the Governor

school classes for the day.  But, they were treated to a unique personal learning experience of a different sort that they will not soon forget.   Mary Cone was one of those young Pony Riders 50 years ago, when Nebraska celebrated its Centennial in 1967 (long before NPEA was formed in 1978).  To celebrate, a Pony Express Re-Ride was held across the state in August of that year.  Many towns supplied riders from local horse clubs and 4-H groups.  As a then-young 4-Her, I still remember and hold the experience dear and close to my heart.

Lyle shows the Pony Express Map and Stations to the Governor and First Lady

What a fabulous day for all of those who participated.   

 

Thanks to everyone, and especially the support people on foot who helped with logistics, brought food, talked with the crowd and scooped poop up off the streets behind the horses!  It was indeed a special day for all involved.

Happy 150th Birthday, Nebraska!

Watch Video of the Presentation