Eight States. Over 750 riders. 1,966 miles. The Pony Express Re-ride galops through Genoa on Wednesday.
The re-ride takes place every June. The ride this year was June 6-16. Riders were traveling west from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California going 24 hours a day in 10 days to keep the history alive and as accurate as possible from the Pony Express.
“The Pony Express is so special because we’re keeping alive the national historic traits. We ride that. We maintain that. We are part of a group who keep those things alive for all the rest of the public so when we do this re-ride, that we do one time a year. We are honoring those men who rode that Pony Express in 1860-1861,” said past President of the National Pony Express Association, Ron Bell.
At 2:23 p.m. two riders arrived ahead of time at the Genoa Courthouse to exchange mochilas, a leather type blanket that fits over the saddle to carry letters in the four cantinas. By 2:24 p.m. the next rider was off towards 207 Old Kingsbury grade around five miles away to continue honoring the rich history that came from the Pony Express.
“It is an amazing group of people to work with. Everybody has been so welcoming and incredible and supportive. It is surreal. I still haven’t come to terms that I’m actually doing it even though it’s done,” said Stephanie Castner, who rode her horse, Malibu, into Genoa.
The two first time riders from Washington who are sisters-in-law got to experience their moment together after riding multiple legs but doing their final leg into Genoa after riding approximately two miles along the shoulder.
“We met through horses when we were younger as teenagers. We were always doing goofy things out trail riding. We were always looking for the next adventure and life got busy. We got older. We had kids. Suddenly this popped up and it was an adventure of a lifetime. Let’s do it. Our 15-year-old selves would be ecstatic,” said Elizabeth Lovell who was riding her horse Ceejae.
The Pony Express Re-ride then continued towards South Lake Tahoe and made their way towards Old Sacramento where the ride concluded at 4:27 p.m Thursday.