Pony Express re-enactment postponed due to virus

May 31, 2011 - 4:14 PM

RENO, Nev. (AP) โ€” Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow could keep Pony Express riders from their appointed rounds, as the story goes. But a deadly horse virus is another matter.

For the first time in its 32-year history, the National Pony Express Association is postponing this summer's annual re-enactment of the famous ride from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento due to an outbreak of the equine herpes virus.

Group president Jim Swigart says the re-enactors have never been deterred by nasty weather or other challenges the original Pony Express riders faced in the 1860s.

But he says it isn't worth the risk to start the ride as scheduled June 8 given the threat posed by the highly contagious virus. The outbreak has so far been blamed for a dozen horse deaths in at least nine Western states.

The new re-enactment dates are Aug. 17-27.