March 26, 2019
On April 20 more than 200 riders on horseback from across the state of Iowa will deliver donations to Easterseals Iowa Camp Sunnyside, 401 NE 66th Ave. in Des Moines. In its 51-year history the group has donated more than $10 million to support Easterseals Iowa and Camp Sunnyside. The community is invited to welcome the riders into Camp Sunnyside at 3:30 p.m.
The Pony Express Riders of Iowa host fundraisers in their home Iowa counties throughout the year. The riders deliver the amount raised to Camp Sunnyside on Easter weekend.
Pony Express Riders of Iowa Board President Johnny Johnson says, “This is one dedicated group of people who have a heart for the children and adults served at Easterseals Iowa and Camp Sunnyside. Seeing the joy on the faces of these folks as they have experiences at Camp that wouldn’t be possible for them without Easterseals Iowa is all the inspiration we need to keep raising these funds each year and continue this tradition of giving to support people with disabilities throughout Iowa.”
Regional rides start throughout the state on April 19 and meet at Polk County Public Works (5885 NE 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50313) at 2:30 p.m. April 20 for the big ride into Camp Sunnyside. The event concludes with a victory dance to announce the year's grand total.
Route Change Note: The 2019 ride into Camp Sunnyside has changed from the route used in previous years due to construction. Guests will not be able to access Camp Sunnyside from the West. The ride will leave Polk County Public Works (5885 NE 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50313) at 2:30 p.m. The ride will travel by way of NE 58th Ave., east to NE Industrial Dr., North to NE 66th Ave., and west to Camp Sunnyside. View the 2019 route.
Easterseals Iowa provides exceptional services to ensure all people with disabilities or special needs, and their families, have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Pony Express Riders of Iowa Founders Stub Johnson, Leo Gray, and Wayne Neilson had the idea to ride "Pony Express Style" county to county, not to carry mail but to carry money to help Iowa children and adults with disabilities. The first ride was held in NW Iowa and raised $12,000. The success spurred them to expand the ride throughout the state the following year. No formal qualifications are needed to become a member of Pony Express - men, women, and children join in the common cause of helping children and adults with disabilities. Other states have patterned groups after the Iowa model but none have come close to matching the success and support of Iowa's Pony Express. www.ponyexpressridersofiowa.org.