Pony Express gallops through Lake Tahoe Basin to Sacramento
STATELINE, LAKE TAHOE – As a reminder of the great lengths it took to deliver the mail by horseback when the West was truly wild, the annual Pony Express re-ride made its way through the Lake Tahoe Basin on Thursday.
From Genoa up Kingsbury Grade, riders Marv Davis, Bob Moore and Davey ‘Doc’ Wiser were part of the Tahoe leg of the 10-day ride that began in St. Joseph, Mo., and will end in Old Sacramento today.
It was a quite a feat for Moore, an 86-year-old Gardnerville resident, who marked his 32nd consecutive year riding.
He met Marv Davis at upper Kingsbury for the switch-off of a mochila containing letters bound for Sacramento.
Moore rode down the west side of Kingsbury and delivered the mail bag to Davey ‘Doc’ Wiser at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Wiser then rode a four-mile leg of the Pony Express Trail from Stateline to Golden Bear on his horse, Jet.
“It is a childhood dream coming true. It is an experience that you can only know by doing it,” said Wiser, who has participated in 27 Pony Express re-rides.
“It is a way to respect our forefathers and, hopefully, younger people will start to ride.”
Last week Wiser participated in the 60th annual Wagon Train, in which he and about 75 others rode horses and carriages from Lake Tahoe to Placerville.
Well-wishers from Genoa to Lake Tahoe were on hand to watch the living history.
Don Horning of Ann Arbor, Mich., said he plans to send a letter via the Pony Express next year. A regular visitor to Lake Tahoe who happened to be in Genoa on Thursday, it was the first year Horning watched the riders.
“We’ve been coming up for years, but this is the first time we’ve seen it,” he said. “This is history in the making. I always thought it had something to do with the post office, but it’s completely separate.”
About two dozen well-wishers were on hand at Harrah’s for the mochila exchange.
Fast horses and skilled horsemen of the National Pony Express Association are carrying the mail over the Pony Express Route. The first rider left St. Joseph on June 9, and the last rider will deliver the mail to the Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento today.
The route between the Missouri and Sacramento rivers are on the Pony Express National Historic Trail, a distance of some 1,966 miles. The trail crosses eight states – Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.
The 10-day event marks the 149th anniversary of the founding of the Pony Express. The mail service was started by a Missouri freight firm called the Pony Express, the horses and their riders carried letters and telegrams from 1860 to 1861 on the central route from San Francisco to St. Joseph.
More than 500 riders and horses are being staged for this year’s event.
For more information, visit http://www.xphomestation.com or call the association’s headquarters in Pollock Pines at (916) 332-8382.
– Kurt Hildebrand of the Record-Courier contributed to this report.
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