Pony Express makes up time in Carson Valley | RecordCourier.com

Pony Express makes up time in Carson Valley

Nevada Chapter Pony Express Vice President “Pony” Ron Bell leans in to listen as Kim Coppel portrays rider Warren Upson at Mormon Station State Historic Park on April 27.
Kurt Hildebrand

Update: Despite getting the mochila an hour late in Woodfords, the annual Pony Express Re-ride arrived in Carson City on time on Thursday.



The annual Pony Express Re-ride got a late start in Sacramento on Wednesday in order to make an event downtrail in Wyoming.

Ron Bell, vice president of the Nevada Pony Express Association, said that event will have the rider leaving five hours later than usual.

The first rider is scheduled to leave Sacramento at 3 p.m., which will put the pony at Woodfords around 2 p.m. Thursday.

“They have a big event so they asked to offset it a little bit to accommodate that,” Bell said. They’ve never asked for anything before, so we slid the time back.”

Bell will be the rider to carry the mochila over the state line into Nevada.

The ride will follow Emigrant Trail to Foothill and then along the base of the Carson Range to Genoa.

Riders are expected to exchange the pouch carrying the mail in Genoa around 4 p.m., but if you blink you might miss it.

“We will be in Genoa for about a 2-second transfer,” Bell said.

He said he plans to arrive in Woodfords around noon, and bring some posters and cards for the newly remodeled store there.

“We’ve got a great group riding this year,” he said. “I’ll be interested in seeing how well we do. We’ve made it on time since I started in 2011.”

For Bell, the three-day ride across Nevada will be a family affair.

“I’m going to be gathering my clan,” he said. “My nephew will be riding this year. My son has to work, so he’ll be riding later. We’re really excited about it.”

The annual relay travels 1,966 miles from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Mo., with more than a quarter of that in Nevada, according to the National Pony Express Association.

But before they arrive in the desert, Express riders will have to cross the Sierra Nevada, which is generally a 23-hour prospect.

Because the Pony Express is a relay, with riders passing a pouch containing mail called a mochila, all times are approximate.

However, because Nevada is on the short end of the Express route this year, times tend to be closer to schedule.

It takes about two hours for the rider to get from Woodfords to Genoa taking Foothill Road.

The rider is expected to arrive in Carson City at 7 p.m., according to the Nevada schedule.

More than 600 riders participate in the Pony Express every year.

The National Pony Express Re-ride schedule can be found at nationalponyexpress.org

This year marks 40 years since the Pony Express Association was founded and 158 years since riders made their way through the Wild West to deliver the mail.

The rider is scheduled to arrive in Missouri on June 30.

Members of the Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association will be tracking the riders across the state.