The annual Pony Express Ride for Camp Sunnyside is an Easter weekend tradition in Iowa. Marlene Duvall of Lacona is president of the Pony Express Riders of Iowa and says riders and horses from all over the state are converging today on the Des Moines area. Duvall says they’ll meet at the John Deere plant in Ankeny and will ride on to the Easter Seals camp itself.
She says there are events and festivities underway all day and as the various counties report their totals of money raised, it’s always a celebration with each announcement. The riders carry with them the money raised from benefits like dances and toll roads across the state. Duvall says the idea for this benefit horseback ride came from three Spencer men.
They came up with the ride and each man rode a long ways, collecting money from the various banks and businesses. This year’s ride to Camp Sunnyside is a landmark as it’s the 40th annual ride held on Easter weekend. Riders, over the years, have endured rain, snow, sun and heat for this event. Last year’s Pony Express Ride raised more than 270-thousand dollars for the Easter Seals Camp, and it’s brought in more than eight-million dollars overall.