An Easter weekend tradition returns to Camp Sunnyside near Ankeny today. Horse riders will arrive at the Easter Seals camp from all corners of the state carrying money collected during dances, toll road operations and more to benefit the camp’s operation. Renee Bailey is with the Iowa Pony Express Riders . She says the first ride was held in 1968 and went from northwest Iowa’s Clay County to Des Moines.
"(It was) such a success…they raised about $12,000 that year. So, they decided to go statewide after that," Bailey said. The riders are expected to arrive at the camp this afternoon. Former Governor Robert Ray will serve as the Grand Marshall to welcome the riders. Renee Bell is a marketing official with Easter Seals of Iowa, which helps raise funds for Camp Sunnyside.
"It enables children and adults with disabilities to be able to have the same kind of camping experience as someone without disabilities can have," Bell said of the campground. Last year’s Pony Express ride raised $250,000 for Camp Sunnyside.