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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pony Express Reenactment Thunders Across Utah

Enthusiasts gathered along the old Pony Express Trail over the weekend as part of the150th anniversary celebration of the of the storied but shore-lived mail service.

Many gathered at a replica station at Simpson Springs in Utah, where riders prepared for a mad dash across one of the most difficult and dangerous legs of the route. The Deseret News has this article about the activity. Below are excerpts.

SIMPSON SPRINGS, Tooele County — Mud and leather flying, the Pony Express re-enactor approaches the desolate West Desert watering hole at a full gallop. It's a hoof pounding and heart pounding sight.

A large gathering of friends, family and other riders crowds around the replica station at Simpson Springs on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the efforts of 22 horses and riders who began today's leg of the ride in Callao, Juab County, near the Nevada border.

Pat Hearty, a past president of the National Pony Express and current Utah chairman, said about 90 Utahns are involved in this year's Sesquicentennial ride. Riders alternate traversing two-mile segments of the historic trail — only a token of the bone jarring, muscle cramping 80- to 100-mile lengths endured by riders of yesteryear.

It was plenty for rookie rider Paul Kern. "They did a lot more riding back in those days, Kern said, explaining that Pony Express riders were better adapted to the rigors of the trail. "We're not in the same condition. You can't be only riding on weekends."

Eighty riders, 400 horses, 1,966 miles of mostly untamed, hostile country: The numbers never added up to financial success. But in terms of defining an era and captivating a still-adolescent nation, the Pony Express left an indelible mark on America.

The fleeting 18-month experiment, which operated from April 1860 to October 1861, was American gumption at its finest — innovative and audacious, romantic as well as heroic.

Read the complete article.

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