The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jean Allyn Smeltzer
Klickitat County Historical Society 

Looking Back


75 Years Ago - July 3, 1941

Hard Riding Klickitat Posse Wins Oregon Trail Pony Express Race - Carrying the mail like the pioneer express riders of old, a hard riding team from the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Posse galloped to victory Sunday in the Oswego Lake - Timberline Lodge pony express race.

Taking the tough 71 mile trail in stride the Klickitat horses and their riders got off to an early lead which they relinquished only once during the grueling race. The seven riders covered the 71 mile course in the record time of 5 hours, 44 minutes and 21 seconds for an average speed of 12-7 miles per hour.

The Klickitat horses, all toughened by weeks of riding, came through the race magnificently. Although the final lap ended in a photo finish with Sheriff Chester “Chet” R. House leading the McMinnville Saddle Club anchor rider by less than a length, the Klickitat team might well have made the race a walk away.

Ted Guinan, number four rider for the Klickitat team, said official veterinarians made him stop his horse and wait seven minutes because they claimed his horse was tiring. Guinan denied that the horse was near winded and said that the delay cost the Klickitat Posse the entire lead they has built jup to that point. However, during the course of the race other teams were also halted.

Harry Dunn, who rode the first lap in the race, also declared he would have come in further ahead in his lap had he not missed the trail and been forced to travel considerable distance out of his way.

As it was, the race ended with four teams closely placed. Sheriff House, riding John Gilmer’s “Ted” came in just ahead of the McMinnville anchor man, Homer Ross. Third place went to the Oregon City Trail Riders and fourth to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Posse. The Western Riders of Portland finished last, far behind the other teams.

A change in the finish line at Timberline Lodge resulted in some confusion. The riders apparently had not been notified or did not remember the point where the race was to have ended and piloted their mounts to the original finish line.

Race officials ruled that the teams finished in the order in which they reached the roped off section by the crowd.


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