Archive for April, 2013
The Hermon A MacNeil statue of of the “Pony Express” in downtown St. Joe will point the way as it has daily for 73 years, of “heading west, young man, heading West!”
MacNeil’s model for this work was a wild stallion from North Dakota that ran in the rodeo circuit as a ‘outlaw’ horse named “Poncho Villa.” The untamed bucking bronco put six men in the hospital during his rodeo career. Dr. S. Meredith Strong acquired the stallion from the rodeo as it was breaking up after its last performance in Madison Square Garden. (Click on “Star” news article below).
While you are in St. Joseph be sure to stop at Patee House Museum (CLICK for photos) and the Pony National Express Museum (CLICK for More). And see MacNeil’s statue for his muscles of “Poncho Villa” captured in bronze. The statue has lasted much longer than the Pony Express in its 78 week history. (April 3, 1860 to Oct 24, 1961 ).
The 2013 Re-ride will offer beautiful horse flesh again this year. This 10-day, 24-hour a day, non-stop event by over 600 riders and horses travels over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Missouri through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada to California. (Not “instant messaging”, but an amazing feat of daring by teenage riders like Buffalo Bill Cody.)
The 2013 Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail conducted by the National Pony Express Association starts in St. Joseph, MO and goes to Sacramento, California, June 17 – 27, 2013. It is the longest event held annually on a Historical trail in the nation.
The event commemorated the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual recreations by the NPEA.
Dr. Strong, who tamed the original “Poncho” that MacNeil modeled for his sculpture, was the president of the American Rough Riders, a organization devoted to the preservation of the American horse, especially the native, wild pony. The saddle, saddle bags, reins, and mail pouches were all modeled after Dr. Strong’s collection of authentic Pony Express gear. While Strong managed to gain Poncho’s confidence, the animal remained but a one-man horse. He was gentle as a lamb around Dr Strong, but when a stranger appeared, he became a fierce wild stallion again. He certainly was of the breed that the Pony Express fostered in their brief 18 month history.
The Re-riders will also carry Commemorative Letters in a Mochila, Pony Express style. The 2013 cachet will be a vignette of Pony Express history in Utah and will be available for purchase by NPEA members, historians, and philatelists. The envelopes will show they were carried by the Pony Express and the first class postage will have a special US Postal service cancellation. Only the number of letters purchased will be carried. Every year Ham Radio plays a very important part of the Re-Ride by providing communications over parts of the trail where communication by other means is not available. This gives those personnel responsible for that part of the Re-Ride information as to where the rider is and if the mail is on time. Communications between Riders and Ride Captains will be provided by amateur radio operators in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, eastern Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Ranked among the most remarkable feats to come out of the 1860 American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Its primary mission was to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. Hermon MacNeil’s Statue in St. Joseph, Missouri, marks the beginning point of the trail.
Established March 1993