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Pony Express Re-Ride across Nebraska June 6-8Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Re-riders south of Ogallala
Courtesy Photo­Image
Riding the Nebraskaland Days parade

Applications are needed by May 29 to have a letter carried across the West in the national Pony Express Re-Ride.

The National Pony Express Association will relay mail by horse and rider over the famed Pony Express National Historic Trail for 10 days in early June. 

The Re-Ride will travel along the Pony Express National Historic Trail, entering Nebraska at the Tri-County marker near Steele City on June 6. 

For two days, “The Pony” will ride across the state, passing through or near Rock Creek Station, Alexandria, Hebron, Oak, Edgar, Hastings, Kenesaw, Ft. Kearny State Park, Elm Creek, Overton, Lexington, Cozad, Gothenburg, Brady, Maxwell, North Platte, Hershey, Sutherland, Paxton, Ogallala, Brule, Big Springs, Chappell, Lodgepole, Sidney, Dalton, Bridgeport, Bayard, Chimney Rock, Gering, Scotts Bluff National Monument and then out of the state near Lyman on June 8.

The 2017 Re-Ride has been chosen as an Official Event of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial by the 150th celebration committee.

“The Pony” will start the re-ride at the Patee House in St. Joseph, Mo, on June 5 and travel 1,966 miles across eight states, arriving in Old Sacramento, Calif. on June 15. The event is the longest equestrian event by distance in the nation. 

The eight states involved are Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. 

The Nebraska route covers 565 miles -- the most of the eight states. The Re-Ride takes 10 days, riding 24/7, just like in 1860. 

More than 700 riders will take the Pony Express Oath and receive a Bible, in the tradition of the Pony Express. New riders are always needed. Personal and commemorative letters will be carried in the mochila cantinas. The mochila is transferred from horse to horse as the Re-Ride progresses. Sending a commemorative letter in 2017 will cost the same as a letter cost to send in 1860 – $5. 

As a special treat to honor the state’s 150th birthday, this year’s commemorative letter will celebrate Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial, describing The Great Platte River Road history and highlighting Nebraska’s iconic trail feature, Chimney Rock. 

Also, the envelope will showcase the USPS-issued Nebraska Sesquicentennial postage stamp.  

After covering the almost 2,000 miles, each letter will receive a special postmark at Old Sacramento, to show that it was carried by Pony Express, before continuing on by regular USPS mail to its addressed recipient. 

Letter application forms are available to everyone at http://nationalponyexpress.org/the-states/nebraska/#forms. The website will also track the mochila by GPS and have Re-Ride progress reports. The public is welcome to come witness mochila exchanges and/or follow along while the riders carry the mail, as well.

The Pony Express operated from April 1860 to November 1861. It was founded by Russell, Majors and Waddell, who ran the Missouri-based freighting business, the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company. 

Though short-lived, the Pony Express proved the Central Route was viable and established the route for the future telegraph, railroad and interstate highway system. The NPEA conducts the Re-Ride annually, every June.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/20/2017
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