The Pony Express delivered mail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California for only 18 months from April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861 when it was replaced by the telegraph. But it quickly spawned lore and legend and inspired generations even until today. The relay system of horses and riders made the 1966 mile journey in ten days carrying the mochila, a four pouch leather mail bag that fit over the saddle, through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The National Pony Express Association (NPEA) has helped keep the memory of the Pony Express alive by organizing a yearly "Re-Ride" that follows as closely as possible the original route. The Re-Ride is also a 10 day, 24 hours a day relay. You will see riding and transferring of the mochila as well as spectators and spectacular landscapes. The groups with riders often included multi-generation families, friends, and children waiting to become old enough to take their turn carrying the mochila.
In 2019 the Re-Ride began in St. Joseph first with the swearing in of the riders with the original oath:
"I, ... , do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God."
In the summer of 2019, my wife and I followed the Re-Ride from St. Joseph to Sacramento. A story I wrote for the NPEA may be found at: https://nationalponyexpress.org/annual-re-ride/reports-from-the-trail/.
The Re-Ride dashed from the historic Pony Express Office at the Patee House in St. Joseph and quickly crossed the Missouri River into Kansas, where exchanges were made at other historic locations. Additional galleries are organized by state, which include all the states of the trail but Colorado, which was ridden in the dark.
For more information, see: