This year’s re-enactment will pass through Tooele County from the Faust area to Fairfield this weekend. The only stop in the county this year will be in Ibapah on Saturday, June 21, at about 6:30 p.m. — where a small, welcoming celebration will be held.
“We don’t want to forget the pioneer days and the exciting things they did.” said Pat Hearty, National Pony Express Association state president.
This year’s ride commemorates the 148th anniversary of the founding of the Pony Express. The old mail system, which ran between Missouri and California, opened as a privately owned business in 1860. It operated for only 18 months until the connection of the transcontinental telegraph in October 1861.
The re-enactment will last for approximately 10 days — the same time needed to complete the original journey — continuing around the clock with 550 riders covering a distance of 1,966 miles. The first rider will leave Pony Express Plaza in Sacramento, Calif., at 9 a.m., Wednesday and will end with a final pull of the reigns on Saturday, June 28, in St. Joseph, Mo. Together, the riders will have passed through eight states on their journey.
Originally, Pony Express riders were paid $25 a week and rode 10 to 12 miles before changing horses, only to continue on for an additional 75 miles before being relieved. The operation involved 40 riders each way, 190 stations, and 400 station keepers to ensure the service kept running.
The “mail” transported by the re-enactment riders consists of commemorative letters highlighting various historical events, sites, or people surrounding the time period the Pony Express ran. It will be carried in a large mochila, or leather, blanket-type device that fits securely over a saddle, similar to what was used in the 1800s. The horses will run at a smooth gallop throughout the re-enactment.
For the first time ever, the watching public will be able to track the horsemen and the mail online. A GPS unit in the mochila will be transmitting the location of the various riders constantly throughout the 10 days. The current positions can be found on the Internet at www.PonyExpressTracking.com or by calling (775)867-3382.