Hashknife Pony Express Riders prepare for their 60th ride

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Pony express rider flying across the desert. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com) Pony express rider flying across the desert. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com)
The mail bag is passed off between riders. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com) The mail bag is passed off between riders. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com)
School kids passing off letters for delivery to a Hash knife rider. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com) School kids passing off letters for delivery to a Hash knife rider. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com)
Mail pouch transfer on the fly. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com) Mail pouch transfer on the fly. Feb. 2017 (Source: Hash Knife Pony Express.com)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The history of the west comes alive in February as the Hashknife Pony Express riders take to the trail to deliver mail over 200 miles across Arizona.

This is the 60th year for the riders. The Hashknife Pony Express is oldest officially sanctioned pony express ride that celebrates the brief part of America's history in the 1860s.

The Pony Express was a mail service that delivered mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Letters were delivered by riders who made coast to coast mail service possible in just 10 days, quite a feat in those times.

An advertisement for riders back in 1860 featured the line: Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred...

Although their time in existence was only a brief 19 months, the romantic images of the young riders making their dangerous trek left a lasting impression in the imaginations from all corners of the world.

Arizona's version of the historic ride takes place every year about this time.

[RELATED:Pony Express re-enactment is traveling along state highways this week]

Members of the Navajo County Sheriff Posse make up the team of Hash Knife Pony Express riders. Each rider is sworn in as an honorary mail messenger sanctioned to deliver U.S.Mail through rain, sleet, hail and storm. Fingers are crossed for good weather this year!

The fun begins in Winslow on Feb. 2, where mail will be collected at several elementary schools in order to be delivered to the final stop in the next few days.

The riders will then make their way to multiple events over the next week with stops in several towns, finally culminating in Scottsdale on Feb. 9 with a celebration to welcome the arrival of the riders at the Scottsdale Museum of the West located at 3830 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

The  activities for the whole family take place from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. including family-friendly games, storytelling, crafts, face painting, onsite food trucks, horse-and-rider meet and greet and autograph-signing party following the mail delivery; and live entertainment. 

The noon delivery of 20,000 pieces of first class mail will highlight the event.

Stamp collectors from around the world covet the hand-stamped mail with the official Hashknife Pony Express indicia. It's not too late to get your own collectors mailer, complete instructions are here. The deadline for getting letters to the museum store or post office is Thursday, Feb.1, 2018. 

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