The Pony Express is riding again

If you’re looking for an excuse to get outside, plan on checking out the Pony Express Re-Ride when it comes across Wyoming in June.

Way back in the old days, when I was in elementary school in Riverton, I had to do a history project on something that involved Wyoming. I chose the Pony Express, and I learned a lot about this early mail delivery system. It was fascinating, and I’ve been reminded of that research project many times as I’ve traveled around Wyoming and seen the signs marking the Pony Express route.

The Pony Express only lasted for 18 months, from April 1860 to October 1861, but while it was up and running, it was the fastest way to get letters from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. It took about 10 days for a message to make the journey. But to do that, it had to be carried from station to station at a dead run by a rider on a fast horse. At each station, which were generally about 10 to 15 miles apart, the rider would pull the saddle bag, or mochila, off the saddle, throw it onto a fresh horse, and hit the trail again.

The riders could not weigh more than 125 pounds. The riders were usually young boys, but they were well paid. They earned $125 a month, which was an excellent wage for the time. Consider that skilled laborers at the time generally made less than $2 a day, or less than $60 a month.

You can go to the Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper on June 21 to see an exchange, or at the Granger Station in Granger on June 22. Visit the National Park Service’s Pony Express Re-Ride page for more information or for the tentative times they’re expected to hit these stations. You can also find out on that page how you can be selected to be a rider for a leg in a future Pony Express Re-Ride event.

But this year, you can at least see the ride as it come through Casper and Granger. Maybe it’ll inspire you to saddle up for the ride next year.