The Pony Express occupies a disproportionate part of the history of the American West. Cruel hours, terrible weather, life-threatening hostility in every direction, and poor prospects for retirement. Yet folks lined up to ride uncertainly through trackless and forbidding territory, to sleep on a hard, cold dirt pile and be awakened by the sound of gunfire.
The H.O.G. touring rally retraced the historic route that the original Pony Express riders followed in 1860-61 as they moved mail through America’s Wild West. Points of interest included various museums tracing the history of the famous ride, and actual Pony Express Station facilities and monuments as well as the opportunity to stand on the original Pony Express trail in several locations. Ride activities included seven dealer-sponsored events along the route. Rally attendees covered territory that tested the endurance skills of Pony Express riders on horseback nearly 150 years ago.
There were a number of special events to highlight on this ride.
The first was at Flaming Gorge Harley-Davidson in Green River WY., where Willie G and his wife Nancy participated in a Friendship Dance with the Native American dancers from the Wind River Indian Reservation.
There was also a 500–mile riding stint from Salt Lake City to Carson City, Nev., that was recognized with a unique “500-mile” pin commemorating that segment of the rally.
In addition, all the riders and HOG general manager Benny Suggs along with Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons visited the Northwest Territorial Mint in Dayton, NV on September 23, 2009. They presented Suggs with a silver medallion along and approximately 500 HOG members also received a version of the national HOG challenge coin which featured the official Harley Owners Group logo on one side and the HOG shield on the other. Each was uniquely edgemarked with the text, “Pony Express Ride 2009” for the event. No other HOG challenge coins have been edgemarked, making them prized Harley-Davidson collectibles.
There are a number of ways to enjoy the Pony Express National Historic Trail these days, but not many can say they rode with Willie G on the Pony Express ride!
Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.
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