Author Melba J. Ray-Leal To Speak On Women & The Pony Express At Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park

Courtesy of Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park · 2 min read

MINDEN, Nev.- Author Melba J. Ray-Leal will speak on her book Women and the Pony Express in a free event at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m.

The Pony Express was a relay of horses and riders which delivered express mail during 1860 and 1861, over 1966 miles between St. Joseph, MO and Sacramento, CA in ten days’ time. The present National Pony Express Association began in 1978 to re-establish, identify and re-ride the historic Pony Express Trail. For the first 12 years, the organization did not permit women to ride in the Annual Re-Ride Celebration with the explanation that there were no known women riders in the original operation.

The National Pony Express Association celebrated the 130th year of the Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express in 1990. This was also the first year women were permitted to ride in the Annual Re-Ride due to Melba J. Ray-Leal’s tenacity and tireless efforts on the behalf of women who desired to participate. In her book, Ray-Leal tells of her love for the history of the Pony Express and her own journey to becoming a full riding member of the California division of the organization. She also shares her personal tragedies and triumphs during those years.

This event is part of the park’s Dangberg Summer Festival and is sponsored by Soaring NV, Douglas County, Carson Valley Accounting, Horsetales Magazine and the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. Alpen Sierra Coffee Company will provide complimentary coffee and 88 Cups & More will provide baked treats.

Melba J. Ray-Leal joined the National Pony Express Association in 1985. Ray-Leal has been a trails advocate for the preservation of trails since 1983, and has served on the board of the El Dorado Trails Advisory Committee and been member of “Trails Now”, both located in Placerville, CA. She also served as Trails Representative and Special Project Manager in the California Division of the National Pony Express Association from 1990 through 2005, and was the first woman to serve as president of that division.

“Being a member, myself, of the Nevada Division of the Pony Express, I appreciate Melba J. Ray-Leal’s passion for this remarkable history, and her desire to be allowed to participate fully in the sharing of it. Her presentation is a must-see for anyone else that shares this passion,” said the park’s events manager, Kim Harris.

The park is located at 1450 Hwy 88, ¼ mile north of the Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital. This is an outdoor event, and visitors should bring their own seating. Dogs are not permitted at this event. For more information, visit The park’s full 2017 event schedule is available at the park’s website.

The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is the 2012 and 2013 Reno-Tahoe Territory winner of the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s “Discover Your Nevada” contest. The site preserves the home of Heinrich F. Dangberg and three generations of descendants. The Dangbergs were a prominent ranching family in Carson Valley that founded Minden in 1905. The Park includes eight historic structures built between 1857 and 1917, along with a large collection of artifacts, documents and photographs. Programs include guided tours, concerts, Chautauqua and other public events. The Park is operated by Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in cooperation with its owner, Douglas County.

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