By JoLynn Fox
It was a cold March in 1959 when members of the Hashknife Posse rode 26 hours straight from Holbrook to the state fairgrounds in Phoenix to deliver an invitation to the posse’s annual June Stampede to then Governor Paul Fannin.
That was the birth of the annual pony express ride from Holbrook to the Valley.
The following year, then Holbrook Postmaster Ernest Hulet helped the posse obtain a permit to carry official U.S. Mail designated for the pony express ride. Since then the Hashknife has held a continuous contract, the longest in the nation, to carry official mail via pony express.
The posse’s 56th annual ride is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from the Holbrook Post Office.
Only the first year did the posse ride non-stop with the mail. Since then they have ridden to Payson the first day out, and to their campsite on the Verde River outside of Scottsdale on the second day.
The list of riders on the first ride included O.C. Thompson, Carl Yarbrough, Ray DeSpain, Grant Brinkerhoff, Cephas Perkins, Orson Shreeve, L. Ben Pearson, Ted Gertwitz, Norman Randall, Cecil King, Jack Riggs, Gale Perkins, Bud Brown, Dick Kennedy, John Hammons, Fred Lisitzky, Elmer Randolph, Roy Downing, Dutch Rupkey, Frank Adair, Loyd Baker, Eldon Jackson and Lynn DeSpain.
One might wonder if those hearty men dreamed on that cold March ride that 55 years later the Hashknife Posse would still be riding over the Mogollon Rim in the dead of winter to deliver the U.S. Mail.
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By JoLynn Fox