On a sunny, windy afternoon at the steps of the state Capitol, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki handed six letters to riders of the National Pony Express Association to honor the historic route completed more than 150 years ago.
Thursday’s event was one in a series of events honoring Nevada’s sesquicentennial.
Once the letters were safely tucked into the satchel, called a mochila, Fallon resident Catie Peralta resumed the ride through Carson City heading east on her horse Dusty.
The ride will cover nearly 2,000 miles from California to Missouri in 10 days. The riders will work 10-mile shifts 24 hours a day through the remainder of the Silver State by Saturday.
Most of the original trail in Nevada remains unpaved and preserved just as it was in the 1860s.
Some of the letters the riders picked up for delivery included messages from Gov. Brian Sandoval, Krolicki, U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei. They include the state’s new sesquicentennial stamp, featuring the Valley of Fire, and will be mailed to various addresses throughout the nation once they reach St. Joseph, Mo., on June 21.
“I have written this letter to a gentleman named Abraham Lincoln,” said Krolicki, chairman of the Sesquicentennial Commission. “This letter will be going his way to say ‘thank you’ for all that you have done and 150 years later you’d be pretty proud of what you started.”
Lincoln was president when Nevada became a state on Oct. 31, 1864.
The recipients of the other letters were not disclosed, except for a letter from the Pony Express Association. The NPEA will deliver a letter addressed to college graduates of 2060 and will be kept in a time capsule in Missouri.
“I have been really blessed,” said Bob Moore, a 90-year-old horseman who arrived on the Capitol grounds a bit before 2 p.m. on Pony Girl.
The Gardnerville resident has been part of the re-enactment of the Pony Express ride since 1978 without missing a year. Moore also is the oldest rider to take part in the re-enactment.
The original ride is ranked as one of the most remarkable feats to come out of the American West and was in service from April 1860 to November 1861.
The primary goal of the Pony Express was to more quickly deliver mail and news between two distant locations. Its life was cut short when telegraph lines and the railroad were built and did the job much faster.
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Whip Villarreal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901. Find him on Twitter: @WhipVillarreal.