CLARKSTON — Clarkston Pony Express Days will take place June 16-17, 2017, celebrating the heritage of a “cozy little corner of Cache Valley.” Event organizers say everyone is welcome and invited to attend the celebration, which is now in its 35th year. Reminiscent of the historical Pony Express, the event features a team horse relay race at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with lucrative prizes for winners.
Other activities include a skeet shoot, family baseball and chili cook-off on Friday evening and a full day of festivities on Saturday, beginning with a 30 K (18.3 mile) road race at 6 a.m. and ending with an outdoor movie at dusk. Activities in between include a firehouse breakfast, storytelling, vintage car show, bounce houses and kids games, vendors and much more. The town parade begins at 1 p.m. along Main Street, and a shrimp and chicken dinner will take place at 6 p.m. From donkey basketball and an animal chase to Bingo and a variety show, Clarkston Pony Express Days promises fun for the whole family.
Elaine Goodey, a member of the Clarkston City Council and chair of the Pony Express Days committee, said she’s looking most forward to the flag raising ceremony at 7 a.m. Saturday on the Town Square, where a prominent member of the community who has given “endless hours of service” will be honored as Citizen of the Year. Goodey referred to the road race as a special run for mental illness and said it will follow a course from the ‘short divide’ to Fielding, with participants returning to Clarkston via the ‘long divide.’ She also said the horse relay will follow a new route this year, beginning at the Gravel Pit.
“In the beginning, the horse race started in Malad and was a 30-mile track with 10 teams riding three miles each,” she said. “It’s been downsized over the years because it was difficult to find that many riders, and it was dangerous with the roadways.”
Goodey said relay teams now follow a three-mile course divided among four teams. A saddle is always awarded among the race prizes, and winners receive commemorative belt buckles.
“It should be challenging and interesting for our horsemen,” she said. “It kind of makes us think of those old times when they had the Pony Express deliver the mail over the years.”
Clarkston resident Aleisa Arnold said she and her family have been involved in some aspect of Pony Express Days nearly every year since they moved to the community 24 years ago. This year, Arnold is heading up the chili cook-off and said she was planning to enter the contest before she was asked to be in charge. She said Pony Express Days helps bring the town together.
“What makes Pony Express so memorable? I think everyone would tell you the same thing,” she said. “It’s so much fun to be with everyone in the community. Tons of former Clarkstonites come back for it every year with their kids and grandkids, and it’s just a huge two-day party.”
Goodey said the event includes something for all ages and is a tradition that not only invites former residents of Clarkston to come home, but also welcomes everyone.
“You don’t have to be a resident of Clarkston to participate,” she said. “Anybody that comes—visitors…You can be a total stranger, and we’d love to have you come and celebrate and have fun with us.”
More information about Clarkston Pony Express Days, including a detailed schedule of events, is available on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/events/178131532717213/”>Facebook</a>. Activity wrist bands and advanced dinner tickets may be purchased from Teanna and Darrin Michaelis or at the Town Hall. Call 435-563-9090 (Town Hall) or 435-563-5754 (Elaine Goodey) for more information.