Have your letter carried by the Pony Express

Pony Express Re-Ride commemorative letter forms available in Green River

Application forms for a special letter to be carried along this year's National Pony Express Association (NPEA) Pony Express Re-Ride are now available in Green River at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, the U.S. Post Office, and the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Center.

The Pony Express was a unique old west express mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Relays of lone riders carried mail in special saddle covers called mochilas, traveling both ways from St. Joseph, Missouri, through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, to Sacramento, California and back.

Mail carried from Missouri to California (or the reverse) by stagecoach took a good 24 days to arrive, and was often delayed even longer, sometimes for months. The Pony Express averaged the same trip in only 10 days. Nearly 200 relay stations were established along the roughly 2,000-mile route, about 10 miles apart through country that was often wild and dangerous.

The Pony Express was not a financial success and operated for only 18 months, from April 3, 1860 to October 26, 1861. Its demise was finalized with the completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line in late October of 1861. During its brief life, the Pony Express carried about 35,000 pieces of mail.

The National Pony Express Association (NPEA) is a non-profit, all volunteer organization founded in 1977 to "re-establish, identify and re-ride the 'Pony Express National Historic Trail.'" National Headquarters is located in Pollock Pines, California. An Annual Board of Directors Meeting is held in September in a city along the trail. The NPEA operates "in partnership with the National Park Service and the Oregon-California Trails Association."

Letters "will be carried on horseback by over 700 riders along the original 1,966 mile Pony Express Trail in just 10 days. Pony Express Commemorative Letters highlight historical events, sites, and people of the Pony Express. Each envelope is hand-stamped with a special US Post Office cancellation. They are the Official Souvenir of the Annual Pony Express Re-Ride... The picture is what last year's envelope and cancellation stamp looked like. This year's will include a California historical station."

The first re-ride of the Pony Express was held in 1923. Beginning in 1980, the National Pony Express Association has held a re-ride every year, except in 2020. This year's ride is scheduled to begin in Sacramento on June 7, with arrival in St. Joseph on June 17. The deadline for submitting application forms is May 1 for "personal letters" and May 17 for "commemorative letters."

For more information about the National Pony Express Association and the 2023 Re-Ride, go to the NPEA website at nationalponyexpress.org.


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