This year marks a special occasion for the Hashknife Pony Express.
For 60 years the Hashknife Pony Express has been official mail carriers of the United States Postal Service. The riders deliver the mail by horseback for over 200 miles, from Holbrook to Scottsdale. Keeping the Spirit of the Old West Alive is truly an historic event, and Scottsdale residents can help us celebrate the completion of this year’s ride this Friday at the “Western Spirit” Scottsdale Museum of the West.
We completed the 59th annual ride from Holbrook to Scottsdale on Feb. 10, 2017. It was a great ride with good weather, which made for record time in arriving at our destinations.
Wednesday, Feb. 7, marks the official start of the 60th Annual Historic Ride. The day starts early with breakfast: 6 a.m., open to the public for $6 at the Holbrook Senior Center on Joy Nevin Avenue. This year, Steve Reynolds will be the first rider out, an honor he has never had the chance to do. Being the “Old Guy” on the ride you would have thought he would have had this honor fulfilled. At 8 a.m. at the Holbrook Post Office, Steve will get the mail and OFF we go “Keeping the Spirit of the Old West Alive.”
We start the activities at the Payson Post Office at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The children in Payson’s schools do a coloring contest so at the post office the winners are announced and they receive their prizes. Pony Express Riders arrive at the Payson Post Office at approximately 4:45 p.m. where the mail will be secured for the night.
We have expanded our vision to include a children’s area in Payson where the children can do crafts, write letters to be delivered by Pony Express and learn about the ways of the west. Wednesday evening, 7-11:30 p.m., there will be a dinner and dance at the OxBow Saloon on Main Street. The cost will be $20 per person.
On Thursday, Feb. 8, the mail will leave Payson Post Office at 9 a.m. This year we will have one of our board members, Bob Moffett, riding out for the first ride. Our mail arrives at the Fountain Hills Post office at about 3:30 p.m. to be secured for the night. The riders meet with the school children from Ft. McDowell and gather their mail, answer questions and let the children see the horses. Then off to the Verde River for a night of camping and camaraderie.
Friday, Feb. 9, marks the last leg of the journey. The Hashknife group gets up early for a breakfast with the public, news media and crew. There is excitement in the air as horses and riders are getting ready to go on the last leg of the journey.
In Scottsdale, we have great excitement building for the arrival of the Hashknife Riders, which will once again be arriving at noon at the “Western Spirit” Scottsdale Museum of the West on Marshall Way. Our support crew will get their early so they can sell posters, mailers, bandanas and other memorabilia in anticipation of the arrival.
This year we have expanded our event to include a food court and western entertainment. The mayor of Scottsdale will be on hand to welcome us, along with people from as far as Canada to people from home who follow us down on our trail to witness history in the making. The Scottsdale postmaster is on hand to collect the official mail from each rider, marking and end of the ride for another year.
But the Hashknife is not done until Saturday, Feb. 10, when they will ride in the 65th Annual Parada Del Sol Parade starting a 9 a.m.
For more information about the “Hashknife,” or if you would like to donate to “Keep the Ride Alive” visit our website at HashknifePonyExpress.com.
Come out and join us in “Keeping the Spirit of the Old West Alive.”
Editor’s note: Mark Reynolds is the captain of the Hashknife Pony Express.