Gilbert Days Rodeo Pony Express ride sets of for annual 2-day mail delivery venture

It's an old-fashioned tradition here in Gilbert.

The Pony Express is preparing for a two-day venture across the state this weekend for a very special delivery.

A ride, back in time. Gilbert Days Rodeo kicks off its rodeo weekend with a nearly 20-year-old town tradition.

"We just take on that old tradition about carrying the mail by horseback and there's a lot of history in that," said Robert Padilla, Gilbert Days president.

Just like the old days in wild west fashion, the Pony Express travels across Arizona, passing through old stagecoach stops along the 150-mile trail.

"It's kind of a leapfrog deal where one gets the mail and takes off for another miles[sic] and we just keep leapfrogging, and we end up in Sacaton with the governor there for lunch and then we head into Casa Grande," Padilla said.

The Pony Express first picks up from the Gilbert Post Office, loading the letters into a saddle carrier used back in the 1800s, and delivers them to veterans and retirement communities.

Gilbert Days organizers say there's no greater way to kick off rodeo weekend and the holiday season.

"It's right before Thanksgiving and the holidays and all of the kids enjoy their horses and they take care of them," Padilla said.