The original Pony Express never traveled through Arizona. Founded in 1860, it lasted less than two years, and ended in bankruptcy. The route ran from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, CA. Arizona was not even on their radar, maybe because radar would not be invented for another 70 years. The completion of the Pacific Telegraph Line sounded the death knell for the Express.
So it is rather interesting that Arizona is home to two Pony Express groups. These groups are sanctioned by the U.S. Post Office, and carry and deliver mail.The White Mountain Sheriff’s Posse ended their annual run in Apache Junction this year.
The Posse of approximately twenty horses and riders left the Lakeside, AZ Post Office at 8AM, April 20 and rode through the White Mountain Apache reservation, and down through to Tortilla Flat on April 23.
Tortilla Flat has a current population of 6, and a working post office. The zip code is 85190. It was a stop on one of the original stage coach routes, and boasted a hotel, a general store, the post office, and a saloon.Today it is a popular tourist stop on Route 88.
The annual ride is used to condition the horses for the summer rescues, as the Sheriff’s Posse is a search and rescue team comprised of volunteers that have completed law enforcement training. At Tortilla Flat they trailered the horses and drove to the Superstition Mountain Museum. There they were met by a contingent from The Hitching Post Saloon and posed for a photo opportunity behind the museum, the Superstition Mountains providing the backdrop.
It was a beautiful day for the event, the temperatures hovering a good ten degrees less than is normal for this time of year – not that I am complaining.
After the event, Liz and I headed to Captain’s for a cold beer before going home. The Hitching Post would have well over 100 patrons, and we didn’t feel like waiting that long for a drink! Once home I grilled some of the biggest pork chops I have ever seen. Over all, it was a pleasant way to end my weekend.