Annual re-ride brings Pony Express history back to life in 2,000 mile journey

10-days on horseback from St. Joe to Sacramento

Kara Marxer
June 05, 2017 - 4:09 am

{This is part of our weeklong series called "Show Me KC"}

The Pony Express re-ride starts Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the Patee House in St. Joseph to begin the 10-day adventure to deliver mail to Sacramento, California.

Each year, the re-ride follows the original trail as close as possible using surrounding roads. This year 600 riders will take turns to transport the mail over one to five miles stretches of the trail.

In the 1800's, it was expensive to hire the Pony Express, which was a high-risk way to send a sack of mail through wild and dangerous territory, said Gary Chilcote, director of the Patee House Museum, the starting point of the ride.

"If they sent a letter, it cost five dollars per half ounce," Chilcote said. "That was expensive back in those days and even today, it would be pretty expensive just to send a letter."

Five dollars was the equivalent of more than $120 dollars in today's money. 

Pony Express riders made about $50 a month, which was good money in 1860.

Riders were not orphans, which is commonly believed, but they were usually loners who could live along the trail by themselves for months on end.

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