Posted: Feb 13, 2012 By: PMG
White Mountains, AZ —Most of us generally take United States mail delivery for granted. But the Hashknife Pony Express never does. Dozens of hearty riders took to their horses and dared the elements of nature to deliver mail in Arizona style. The 200-mile journey started in Holbrook at the stately Old Courthouse and concluded in Scottsdale.
An official Arizona Centennial event and the kick-off to the historic Parada del Sol parade, the Hashknife Pony Express has been reenacting postal service since 1958. The Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse began the tradition by delivering an invitation to the Arizona governor for the Scottsdale Jaycees’ rodeo and associated celebrations. Riders have braved the elements, camping along their harrowing journey from the White Mountains each year.
The horse-mounted contingency makes quite a spectacle every spring to the delight of large crowds. The delivery of the mail in canvas bags to an awaiting mail truck has become a huge tourist attraction each year. It is not only symbolic but authentic. Each Hashknife Pony Express rider takes the official Postman’s Oath carrying U.S. mail. This pledge requires a dedication to delivering each piece of first-class mail on time.
Dressed in Old West attire, and many carrying flags, the Western mailmen paraded into the heart of Scottsdale to the Hashknife Pony Express Commemorative Monument on Friday, February 10th. The monument is a massive bronze statue designed by artist Herb Mignery. It graces the cul-de-sac at Marshall Way, south of Camelback Road in downtown Scottsdale. Named Passing the Legacy, the scupture has become the official delivery point of the harrowing Hashknife Pony Express ride.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and Holbrook Mayor Jeff Hill greeted the riders. Mayor Hill thanked the communities across the White Mountains who supported the Hashknife Pony Express throughout their journey. Secretary Bennett also thanked the riders and welcomed them to return next year to this unique Western tradition. Navajo County Government Relations Administrator Hunter Moore and Navajo County Supervisor J.R. Despain traveled to the delivery location as well.
“This is quite a stunning thing to see,” commented Hunter Moore. “It is a symbolic ride, but these men are really delivering the mail.” At the conclusion of the official greeting, each rider handed over canvas bags of specially postmarked mail to the waiting hands of United States Post Office staff and into a ubiquitous white mail truck. “We’re here to deliver the mail,” said a postal employee. “We don’t really have time to hang around and enjoy the festivities.”
With that efficient proclamation, the Hashknife Pony Express mission was accomplished. All that was left were the hundreds of well-wishers looking to have their pictures taken with the legendary and somewhat exhausted Hashknife riders.
3104 east camelback, box 580
phoenix, arizona 85016
phone 602.852.0283 fax 602.852.0678