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Archive for Monday, October 10, 2011

Pony Express riders carry letters from Lecompton to Topeka in commemorative event

Jim Swigart, who is the national President of the National Pony Express Association, waits outside of Constitution Hall on Monday, Oct. 10, before the start of a Pony Express ride to the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. More than a dozen riders carried a mochila — a saddle bag — of letters from former Kansas governors to the capitol to honor both the state's 150th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the termination of the Pony Express.

Jim Swigart, who is the national President of the National Pony Express Association, waits outside of Constitution Hall on Monday, Oct. 10, before the start of a Pony Express ride to the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. More than a dozen riders carried a mochila — a saddle bag — of letters from former Kansas governors to the capitol to honor both the state's 150th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the termination of the Pony Express.

October 10, 2011

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Pony Express Ride

Fourteen horseback riders participated in a Pony Express re-ride from Lecompton to the Statehouse in Topeka, Monday, Oct. 10. The riders carried a mochila - a saddle bag - of letters from former Kansas Governors, to the capitol to honor both the state's 150th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the termination of the Pony Express. Enlarge video

— At this age, it’s OK to celebrate your milestones together.

Kansas is 150 this year, and the Pony Express ended 150 years ago following a brief but legendary existence.

The anniversaries of the two were commemorated Monday in a re-ride of the Pony Express from Lecompton to the steps of the Capitol.

“We need to remember what has gone before us,” said Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after he received commemorative letters from Gov. Sam Brownback and four former governors.

The letters were delivered by riders of the Kansas division of the National Pony Express Association, which re-creates the Pony Express experience in re-rides.

The Pony Express was a private mail service in which horseback riders would relay mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. It started on April 3, 1860, and lasted for 18 months, until connection of the transcontinental telegraph.

The nearly 2,000-mile journey covering eight states took about 10 days, according to the National Pony Express Association. Riders were paid $25 per week and rode 10 to 12 miles before changing horses. A different rider started about every 75 miles.

In his letter, Brownback, who was traveling in Russia on Monday on a trip to market Kansas farm products, said, “It is nearly impossible to think of those daring young riders braving the dangerous journey to aid in the growth and expansion of a grateful nation without thinking of the rolling plains and rustic beauty of Kansas. The two are tangled in our lore and our vision of the past, dependent on one another and forever intertwined.”

Monday’s ride started about 9 a.m. in Lecompton, Kansas’ territorial capital. Thirteen Kansas riders and 3 1/2 hours later, the mail was delivered to the Capitol.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 6 months ago

This is another wonderful idea for Kansas' 150th anniversary. But why would it take place on Columbus Day, when many people have to work, instead of on Saturday or Sunday?

This is also another example of where the Journal-World has fallen behind. There should be a video of this event, along with so many others during this past year, and it should be assembled in one place so that people could see it anywhere in the country.

If indeed there is a video, then I haven't heard about it and I apologize. But the Journal-World has so many good stories about the Kansas Centennial, that there is good reason to video tape it going through the various small towns on its way to the Capitol.

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