The clip-clop of horses’ hooves will be heard this weekend as the Iowa Pony Express riders make their annual Easter weekend trek to Des Moines. It’s expected several hundred riders will be carrying the money they’ve raised from various projects statewide to Camp Sunnyside, the Easter Seals camp.
Bob McWilliams, of Montezuma, past president of the Pony Express, says the ride is always well-attended. He says the last leg of the ride from the John Deere plant parking lot in Ankeny to Camp Sunnyside usually involves between 300 and 600 horses.
The late Stub Johnson of Spencer had the idea behind the first ride to the Easter Seals Camp in 1968. This year, former Governor Robert Ray will ride the final stretch into the Easter Seals camp with the rest of the participants from all over the state.
McWilliams says last year’s fundraiser was a big success. They raised 270-thousand dollars which is turned over to Easter Seals to pay for Camp Sunnyside. It’s a haven for people with disabilities who attend summer camp there with horseback riding, fishing, paddleboating, swimming and more.
McWilliams says over the decades, the annual fundraisers have added up significantly. In the 40 years, the Pony Express has brought in eight-and-a-quarter million dollars. To learn more, see the Easter Seals and Camp Sunnyside website at "www.ia.easterseals.com".