Pony Express National Historic Trail 2021 Highlights

The National Pony Express Association provided the following highlights for the Pony Express NHT during the 2021 calendar year:

Historic Preservation

Completed refurbishing of the replica of the “Lookout Pass” station located at “This is the Place Heritage Park”. Photo by Fred Leslie, NPEA Utah Member.

With the help of our partnership with the National Park Service, the Utah Division of the National Pony Express Association was able to repair and refurbish the replica of the “Lookout Pass” station located at “This is the Place Heritage Park”.
May 1, 2021 we cleaned and trimmed shrubs, removed brush, and repaired the roof. September 18, 2021 we again cleaned and trimmed shrubs and removed more brush. We added a park bench, stained the cabin, and installed lighting. It took 6 Pony Express members and 2 supporters 37 hours plus 328 miles of travel to complete this project.

Collaboration and Engagement

Map of Pony Express National Historic Trail showing the exchange stations along the route as well as the rider’s position. NPS Image.

The National Park Service, National Trails office (NTIR) provided financial and technical support for the 2021 National Pony Express Association (NPEA) re-ride of the Pony Express from Sacramento, CA to St. Joseph, MO. NTIR’s GIS staff oversaw technical support for the Pony Express Re-Ride Web App that was viewed more than 26,000 times over the course of the 10 day event from June 16 – 26, 2021.

The App, significantly updated in the last two years by NTIR staff, allows members of the public to follow each of the riders throughout the course of the event. By using the App NPEA members know if a rider is delayed or early in arriving at a meeting location and can adjust plans to meet the rider accordingly.

Other Highlights

Hand cancelled commemorative letters from 2020. Photo by Amanda Svoboda, NPEA Kansas Member.

NPEA conducted its Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail from Old Sacramento, California to St. Joseph, Missouri in June 2021. The re-ride took ten days to complete by traveling non-stop on horseback 24 hours a day regardless of the weather. Commemorative letters were carried by about 900 riders and horses from all eight states along the Trail.

Since the re-ride was canceled in 2020 due to COVID, the letters from 2020 and 2021 were delivered together. With over a 1,000 letters to deliver, a horn bag also had to be used along with the mochila in order to carry them all. The letters were then hand stamped with a Pony Express date stamp in Atchison, KS and delivered by the USPS to the recipients. The 2020 “COVID Year” letters were also hand stamped on the back with a cowboy wearing a mask that said “Delayed Due To COVID-19”.

This year the western television channel INSP purchased 10 commemorative letters. They then held a contest giveaway surrounding their current “Young Riders” TV series that is about the riders of the Pony Express.