By Amy Edelen – January 22, 2015
The Hashknife Pony Express, the longest sanctioned U.S. Postal Service Pony Express route in the world, will be making its annual trip to Scottsdale on Jan. 30 to deliver mail and celebrate the Old West with a free event.
The Hashknife riders will embark on a rigorous three-day, 200-mile journey on horseback, which begins on Jan. 28 when riders pick up the first bags of mail from the Holbrook post office. The mail is either sent in to the post office from various locations throughout the U.S, or is dropped off in person. The riders will stop at postal offices in Payson and Fountain Hills before spending the night on the Verde River at the Fort McDowell Indian Community. At noon on Jan. 30, the riders will arrive at the “Passing the Legacy” sculpture located on the north side of the Marshall Way Bridge and the Scottsdale Waterfront to deliver the mail.
A free, family-friendly event will follow the mail delivery and feature interactive children’s activities, such as a “cowboy boot camp,” which includes learning how to saddle a horse, fashion a cowboy hat and write letters. Hashknife riders will be available until 3 p.m. to speak with event-goers, take pictures and sign gear. Authentic Hashknife memorabilia will be on sale as well as art and merchandise from Scottsdale’s Artisan Markets.
Hashknife Captain Mark Reynolds, who has been a member of the Hashknife Pony Express for more than 35 years, said the Navajo County Hashknife Sheriff’s Posse, a volunteer search and rescue team, began the Hashknife Pony Express ride in 1958 when they delivered an invitation to Governor Paul Fannin for the Hashknife Stampede Rodeo. The Pony Express rides continued annually to mark the kickoff Scottsdale’s Parada del Sol festival.
“We’re the longest continuous route that we know of in the nation,” he said. “Every ride that we do is historical. We are a living history and we are trying to keep the history of the Old West alive and the history of Holbrook alive.”