Since 1968, the Pony Express has been riding across the state of Iowa, collecting donations o help children with disabilities. The money raised has been used to benefit Camp Sunnyside.
Palo Alto County Pony Express riders will hit the road again this Friday, April 6, Good Friday.
Pony Express Riders of Iowa, Inc., have a goal of $300,000 again this year. All funds will benefit Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside.
"Our Good Friday ride will be pretty much the same as last year," said Vince Lammers of Emmetsburg.
The first group of Palo Alto County riders will leave from Mallard at 7:30 a.m. Friday. Tim Allen is heading up the group that will travel from Mallard to Jefferson. They will have 24 head of horses, enough to ride a fresh horse every mile.
The second group will leave Mallard at 8 a.m. Friday. They will go to Curlew and meet the group in Ayrshire before heading on to Ruthven to collect donations. The group will leave there at 10:30 a.m. to ride to Emmetsburg.
The Graettinger group will gather at 8:30 a.m. They will ride from Graettinger to Emmetsburg, meeting the rest of the group at 12 noon.
The group from West Bend will gather at 9 a.m. They will meet the rest of the Palo Alto County group at Whittemore at 3 p.m.
Palo Alto County Pony Express will ride into Emmetsburg at 12 noon Friday. They will gather in the Courthouse Square area to visit with people, answer questions and to accept donations for Camp Sunnyside.
From Emmetsburg, the riders will travel to Cylinder. The county ride will end in Whittemore.
There will be about 40 riders from Palo Alto County participating this year.
"We appreciate our residents' generosity and look forward to seeing them again this Friday," said Lammers.
While at the Courthouse Square, Pony Express riders will be selling tickets for a 2012 Polaris Ranger 500 EFI. Raffle tickets are available from any Pony Express rider through Good Friday, or contact Vince Lammers. The drawing will be held April 7.
On Saturday, all of the Pony Express riders from across the state will ride to Jefferson. Palo Alto County riders will meet up with the riders who left on Friday and they will join other riders at the John Deere plant. They will ride as a group to Camp Sunnyside. Highlight of the ride is a victory dance at Lake Robins.
The Pony Express ride began in Northwest Iowa. Stub Johnson, Leo Gray andWayne Neilson had the idea to ride "Pony Express Style" county to county, not to carry mail but to carry money to help Iowa children and adults with disabilities. The first ride, March 30, 1968, raised $12,00 in Northwest Iowa. The success spurred them to expand the ride throughout the state the following year.
Tim Allen of Whittemore serves as the Northwest Region VP on the Pony Express Riders of Iowa Board of Directors. Paxton Reese of Mallard serves as a Northwest Iowa region representative.