Knowing Nevada: Pony Express tradition trots on
RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) —
It once took 10 days to send just a simple message from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Pony Express.
At the time, the route from Missouri to California was innovative and crucial to a developing United States.
Now, 150 plus years later, that same message takes just a moment to send and receive, but the historic Pony Express tradition lives on.
"We do it in 10 days, which is what they did back in 1860 and 1861," says National Pony Express Nevada Division President Arthur Johnson. "They did it in 10 days."
In June, a nation-wide re-enactment begins on horseback, reaching Nevada from the east on June 12.
Johnson and Vice President Ron Bell are organizing Nevada's 60-hour ride, and they're looking for 10 to 15 more riders to cross the state trail both day and night.
"The original company of the Pony Express was pretty religious," says Bell. "You end up getting a bible and it gets stamped every year, so you get to carry it with you and it is pretty cool."
In 2017, Nevada State Museum Curator Bob Nylen says there are only 12 remaining bibles that were carried by riders between 1960 and 1961.
One of those bibles is on display at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.
"When you became a rider, you took an oath to be honest, truthful, not to drink and not to swear," says Nylen. "Present day Pony Express groups have that oath that they go to school groups with when they go out and meet them."
Johnson and Bell are no different. The two say they go to middle schools throughout the state to teach children about the Pony Express and its historical importance not only in Nevada, but the country.
If you would like to sign up to ride the Pony Express next month, tryouts are happening Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fort Churchill in Silver Springs.
For more information about the weekend, you can call Ron Bell at (775) 220-0007.
To learn more about the Pony Express and the ride happening in June, click here.