Hashknife Pony Express Brings Town Together


Matt Mcrae, a 15-year member of the Hashknife riders, galloped into Pine on Feb. 8 in the 54th re-enactment of the legendary Pony Express Ride. Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse members, like Matt, are keeping history alive for future generations.

Matt Mcrae, a 15-year member of the Hashknife riders, galloped into Pine on Feb. 8 in the 54th re-enactment of the legendary Pony Express Ride. Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse members, like Matt, are keeping history alive for future generations. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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The turnout was greater than expected as residents assembled at the post office on Feb. 8 to see the legendary Pony Express ride out of the pages of history and into present-day Pine in a re-enactment that brought the Old West to life.

Townsfolk gathered to celebrate our Western heritage and our state’s centennial and salute the riders as they galloped into town in the 54th re-enactment of the Hashknife Pony Express.

Curious onlookers filled the parking lot, stood on the sidewalk or sat on the bed of pickup trucks and greeted neighbors while enjoying the social atmosphere of the occasion.

The scene was reflective of pioneer days as many observers, including children, dressed in “Little House on the Prairie” fashion, while the school band led by music teacher, Ashley Kendrick, played the “Grandioso March,” a song composed by Jack Bullock.

Principal Michael Clark of Pine Strawberry School and many students were out in support of the event which plays an important role in keeping our town and country’s history alive for future generations.

I imagined the old days of Pine and could almost see a band with washboards, banjos and harmonicas playing and the medicine man with his wagon and show, selling his cure-all elixir that was even good for a lame horse, saddle sores, colds, or arthritis!

In the frontier days, the arrival of the mail created a great stir as merchants decorated their shops with flags and banners that said “Pony Express Forever” and “Long Live the Pony Express.” People would line the streets and shop balconies straining to catch the first glimpse of the rider.

Here in Pine, a spectator sighted the small figures in the distance and shouted “Hashknife!” and the crowd cheered as six mounted mail carriers advanced.

Matt Mcrae, a 15-year Hashknife rider, dismounted his horse and went into the post office to greet Postmaster Raymond Argel, and sign for the specially stamped mail that is now a part of history.

Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse members like Clayton Alford, who rode into town on his horse, Black Betty, are doing their part to keep the Hashknife Pony Express alive by participating in the annual ride. They enjoy this variation to their duties, which more often involve rescue operations like searching for lost children, hunters and motorists or wanted fugitives.

Each posse member who participates in the re-enactment furnishes their own firearms, horses, saddles, and other equipment.

It’s been reported that the present-day riders enjoy the ride into Pine because they are greeted so enthusiastically here and served cookies and other goodies.

The excited children ran up to see and touch the horses, ask a lot of questions, and have their commemorative bandanas and posters autographed.

One of the memorable aspects of the event was seeing the beautiful horses and rugged riders charge off with the mail right down the middle of the highway in synchronized precision. The swift horses sped down the Hashknife Pony Express route for Payson to deliver the mail and then were going to a camp site on the Verde River before embarking on the last leg of their commemorative ride ending in Scottsdale.

The post office staff thanks the residents for coming out in support of the riders. The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office and the posse are dedicated to ensuring we never forget the daring individuals who risked their lives to keep communication flowing.

Gospel concert in Pine

There will be a special concert at First Baptist Church in Pine on Sunday, March 11 at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

This amazing group comes directly from Nashville where much of today’s southern and country gospel sound originated.

The “Blackwood Legacy” is led by 36-year-old southern gospel veteran, Rick Price, an inductee in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame with the legendary Blackwood Brothers quartet.

Rick has surrounded himself by talented musicians and singers including Luke Yates, an amazing piano player and vocalist, and Tenor Daniel Childs, grandson to the late Cecil Blackwood.

The church is located at 4039 N. Hwy. 87 in Pine. For more information, call the church at 476-3552, or visit the Web site www.TheBlackwoodLegacy.com.

Investing 101

Investment Clubs aren’t just for the wealthy.

A Google search produces many examples of individuals of modest income who increased their financial status significantly through membership in investment clubs.

People join investment clubs to have fun and learn about the stock market. It is for those who want to learn and those who want to share knowledge, by an interchange of ideas and dialogue, and jointly invest for maximum return on their money.

We are fortunate to have an investment club here.

Karen, of Hairlooms in Pine, says that now is the perfect time for people to “come on board” as it is a low $25 a month to invest but later will be more to get in.

The “Strawberry Investment Club” will meet on Feb. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Early Bird restaurant, in Pine. Everyone is invited to attend to learn more about or to join the group. For further information, contact Karen at 476-3658.

Volunteers needed

The Pine Strawberry Community Center Thrift Store needs men age 18 and up for the back sales yard. Call 476-4633 for further information.

The Quilt Angels need volunteers with or without sewing skills to help assemble quilts for charity at a quilt-a-thon being held March 13 to 15 at First Baptist Church in Pine. Call Joanne at 472-1183 or Donna at 476-3968.

Correction

The photo in last week’s column was misidentified. Pictured were (left to right) firefighter Bill Potter, Dawn Potter, Bailee Taylor, Kara Ward, Benny Abney, firefighter Nathan Lynch; kneeling were Sumer Aguan, Caleb Paine and firefighter Zach Graham.

Happy birthday, Arizona. ’Til next Friday, happy trails to you. Please contact me with your events at nattordiovi@gmail.com or call (602) 790-0248.

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