Sept 9, 1948
Copy from the Hennessey Clipper Newspaper
Hennessey, Oklahoma
Courtesy furnished by Otto Stover
Gene Gill, on 22 Oct. 2003
Additional Commentary by Otto Stover

The milling crowds have gone, the gaily clad roundup club members with their
High boots, colorful shirts and proud steeds have left and the street decorations are down.
Hennessey’s three-day celebration is history, but it is interesting history.

Hennessey entertained several thousand friends and neighbors and many old Timers and former residents during the three-day celebration.  It brought together many Old friends and former neighbors, fine folks, and everybody apparently found it enjoyable, so it was well worthwhile.

From the pony express won by Piedmont Roundup Club Saturday morning in which five roundup clubs and ninety horses participated, until the rodeo and dance Monday night, there was entertainment of some kind the greater part of the time.

Pony Express-----

Piedmont Roundup Club, 1st | Time: 45 minutes and 37 ½ seconds.
Lovell Roundup Club, 2nd
Okeene Roundup Club, 3rd
Crescent Roundup Club, 4th
Enid Club, 5th

Bill Ford’s guess on the time was 45 minutes, 35 seconds, and he was the winner, although Bob Craun, Earl Jully, H. Woodward and Gaylord Ortman missed it less than a minute.

The 18 horsemen from Piedmont came out winner by 30 or 40 feet in the pony express race here Saturday. Lovell was second. The first riders of Okeene, Enid, Crescent, Lovell and Piedmont left the west edge of Marshall at 10:30 am sharp and the winning rider rode into Hennessey, 18 miles away, 45 minutes, 37 ½ seconds later, making an average speed of 23.7 miles per hour.

The five clubs finished in this order: Piedmont first, with Little riding last mile, Lovell, second, with Poren Phillips up; Okeene, third, with Bill Hogan up; Crescent, fourth, with Pres Sam Kuver up; and Enid Rangers, fifth with Lloyd Williams up.

Each milepost between Marshall and Hennessey was declared an “outpost”. At each outpost each racing club had a fresh horse and rider waiting. The incoming rider dismounted, handed his “mail” to the waiting member of his team. Then the waiting relay team member mounted and rode out his mile.

Photo is the Piedmont club’s team. Riders pictured left to right (on the back row) are

Howard Ballard, Ernest Jech, Alvin Stout, Marvin Yowell, Douglas Ratcliff, Eldon Trindle, Glen Ratcliff, Gene Gill, Roy Dixon, Raymond Stover, Allen Moffat, Cleo Kephart, O.B. Stover, Harold Ratcliff, M.H. Dunbar, Virgil Smith, Howard Ratcliff, Ted Little and Joe Hobza.

Dismounted in the front row – left to right are

Roy Garten, Melvin Dunkelberger, Buddy Little (club president), Verlyn Yowell, John V. Whelan, Jr., (vice president) and Clay Yowell.

Willie Ford, Hennessey colored man, won the prize money for guessing the elapsed time of the race.

John Short, president of the Hennessey Whisker club, said that the relay race will be made an annual event of the Hennessey Pioneer celebration.

End of Hennessey Clipper article

And now some recollections of the race as I [Otto Stover] recall it some 65 years ago……

Prize for winning the race: $100.00

Many Piedmont residents drove to Hennessey to observe the race at arious outposts

John V. Whelan observed the race from an airplane as the race proceeded

Thru the 18 miles one club used thoroughbred horses in the race. They ran fast but riders could not get them stopped when arriving at the outpost to transfer the “mail”.

Our riders used a 12” ruler with a leather strap attached that exemplified the “mail” and passed it on to the next rider like a baton. For years following the race the ruler hung on the east wall of Stover’s Hall.

The photograph of the Piedmont riders and supporters hangs in the Piedmont Museum.

Out of 25 men in the photograph some 17 are no longer living as of 2013

The photo was taken on the main street of Hennessey.

Howard Ballard, Douglas Ratcliff, Glen Ratcliff, Gene Gill, and Allen Moffat were all 13 & 14 years old at the time.