Hundreds of horses will be clip-clopping alongside many Iowa roads today as part of the annual Pony Express Ride to benefit Camp Sunnyside near Ankeny.
The ride is an Easter weekend tradition dating back more than four decades. Carole Bailey is spokeswoman for the Pony Express Riders of Iowa.
“In the last 44 years, we have raised over $8.9-million to benefit the Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside, the programs that they offer to disabled Iowans,” Bailey says.
The first year the ride was held in 1968, it brought in about $12,000. Last year’s event generated $207,000 for the camp.
Renee Bell, spokeswoman for Easter Seals of Iowa, says the riders will come from all four corners of the state, converging on the camp for a parade at mid-afternoon.
Bell says, “Every year for the past 40 some years, Governor Robert Ray has been one of the parade marshals and this year, we’re also honored to have Governor Terry Branstad in the parade.”
Many of the 300-some horses, riders and wagons started their journey on Friday from points as far away as Decorah, Iowa Falls and Mason City.
In addition to a running tally being kept on a big board, Bell says, there will be music, food and great camaraderie.
The day will conclude with a Victory Dance at Lake Robbins Ballroom near Woodward beginning at 7:30 PM. The grand total will be announced tonight.
Learn more at www.ponyexpressridersofiowa.org and at www.ia.easterseals.com.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City