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WATERLOO -- The Pony Express rode through Waterloo and the Cedar Valley to raise money for Camp Sunnyside in Des Moines.

The Easter Seals Pony Express Ride has been held annually since 1968, always on Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter. 

Bill Ludwig has been riding with Pony Express for 42 years, starting in 1976 when he was 9 years old. 

"I got into it when I was younger," Ludwig said. "The reason I started was because I thought it was a good charity. It's all run by volunteers, nobody gets paid and we collect more money than any other organization for Easter Seals in the state of Iowa."

Last year the riders raised $330,000 for their cause, Ludwig said. 

Brenda Gibson rode Randy into Waterloo with several other riders Friday afternoon. 

"We take this once-a-year opportunity to ride across Iowa and we do a short segment from Evansdale to Waterloo's City Hall," Gibson said. "I've been riding with them for about 37 years." 

When the riders got to Waterloo City Hall they were greeted by Mayor Quentin Hart. 

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"The Pony Express is one the joys that we have every year," Hart said. "We look forward to seeing the young people. We look forward to seeing the horses and the carriages. We're grateful they come through Waterloo."

The ride through Waterloo was full of sunshine. 

"A lot of times we don't get this kind of weather," Ludwig said. "We've done it snow and rain, but it doesn't matter, people still come out and we still collect. It doesn't stop us." 

There are 12 different rides around the state. Ludwig's starts in Decorah on Friday and travels south with stops in Calmar, West Union, Fayette, Oelwein, Independence, Evansdale, Waterloo and Hudson. The ride ends at the Easter Seals camp outside of Ankeny. 

"I believe in the charity and I believe in the camp," Ludwig said. "I think the camp does a good job of giving a break to the handicap children of Iowa." 

 
 

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