Somewhere between 600 and 800 horseback riders arrive in Ankeny this weekend at the conclusion of the annual ride to Camp Sunnyside, benefiting Easter Seals of Iowa. Charlie Scarlett is an organizer of the Pony Express Ride. They mark the 38th ride into camp, he notes, remembering how it began in 1968 with a ride from Spencer that raised 12-thousand dollars. It’s grown today into an event that’ll raise nearly 300-thousand. Over those 38 years, riders have braved cold, snow, rain and sometimes even sunny and hot weather. They’re coming today from all over the state, along eleven different routes timed to arrive at the same time at Camp Sunnyside. They’ll gather at Ankeny’s John Deere parking lot and hope to ride out of there about two PM so all the riders arrive in camp around 4 PM. Saturday evening riders will be feted at the annual dance at Des Moines’ Val-Air Ballroom, where they’ll learn the final total they raised in this year’s Pony Express Ride. Money benefits Camp Sunnyside, which offers summer recreation to handicapped kids and their families.
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