The Pony Express delivered mail from Missouri to California for just a brief time in the early 1860s. But the romance of those intrepid riders racing across the country lives on in the annual reenactment by the National Pony Express Association.
This year over 600 NPEA members are participating in the 10-day relay that follows segments of the 1,966-mile route between St. Joseph and Sacramento.
The 2011 "re-ride" was delayed until August due to an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus in May. The first rider left St. Joseph on Aug. 17, and the last rider is expected to gallop into Pony Express Plaza in Old Sacramento on Aug. 27 around 10 a.m. (give or take a few hours). There won't be as elaborate a reception in Old Sac as in years past, but it will be exciting nonetheless.
You can follow the progress of the ride with this updating Google map. There's also a detailed schedule of arrivals and departures along the route. And here's the NPEA news release describing the 2011 festivities.
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Jensen, the last rider of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, pats his horse, Stormy, after his arrival in Old Sacramento. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Sarah Orr