Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

July 28, 2012

Locals ride Pony Express trail

AMERICUS — Alan Deaver and Robert Littlejohn, of Americus recently took an adventure that would thrill any real horse or old west enthusiast when they participated in The National Pony Express Association’s Pony Express re-ride last month.

Each year, riders from all over the world travel on horseback, down the historic trail that stretches from Sacramento, Calif. to St. Joseph, Mo.

The 10-day ride is 24 hours a day, non-stop. Deaver and Littlejohn were among the more than 600 riders and horses along the 1,966-mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail.

Their participation in the event was on a 35 mile stretch of the trail in Jefferson City, Wyoming. The riders carry the mailbag, or mochil and transfer it to other riders positioned along the trail. The annual event commemorates the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company, which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake was passable year round.

Deaver and Littlejohn are both self-proclaimed “horse people” and enjoyed the experience immensely.

Deaver explained that when they arrived at 1:30 a.m. they went straight to the Flat Rock Bar and Cafe where they were sworn in as Pony Express riders.

Littlejohn is a collector of Pony Express and old west memorabilia and has a brother, Tim, who lives in Casper, Wyoming.

The two men from Americus got the chance to become Pony Express riders because of a chance meeting Tim had with Pony Express association member, Jaye Jensen. Tim told Jensen of Robert’s collection, which includes a Pony Express saddle. Jensen sent an invitation to Robert to take part in the re-ride and, in-turn, Robert asked his friend, Deaver.

The thought of riding through the rugged Wyoming countryside among the jackrabbits and coyotes was too much for Deaver resist, although he declined Littlejohn’s invitation at first.

“It’s something you can tell your kids about,” Deaver said, recalling the experience.

“It’s remaking history in the sense that not many people get an opportunity to do that,” Littlejohn agreed.

Jensen invited the men out to experience more of the western country at his ranch. Deaver explained that the ranch was the real deal. “It was 30 miles of dirt road from the highway to the corral. No electricity or cell phone service and well water was pumped by the power of wind mills. There was plenty of wild life to take in. They spotted mule deer and antelope.

“We were riding down a canyon and a bald eagle flew right over the top of our head. It was neat as it could be,” Littlejohn said.

“I though I was John Wayne, man.”

Still reeling from the adventure, both men are hooked.

“It was unbelievable,” Littlejohn said. “We’re going back next year — keep going back as long as  we can.”

“As long as they’ll let us,” said Deaver.

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