Saltwater cowboys

chincoteague.com

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) - An Eastern Shore tradition celebrated by Marguerite Henry's book "Misty of Chincoteague" is marking its 90th year.

The highlight of the week is this morning's annual swim of the tough little ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. A group of volunteers called the "Saltwater Cowboys" rounds up the ponies and leads them through the passage at slack tide.

An auction of a portion of the herd benefits the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

Misty of Chincoteague Book Cover

They’re gathering in Chincoteague for the 90th Annual Pony Swim.

Saltwater Cowboys are expected to drive around 150 ponies across the channel from Assateague Island sometime between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

After the swim and a 45 minute pause for the ponies they will be herded to Main Street for a parade.

On Thursday they will be up for auction with proceeds going to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department.

The event was made famous in the 1947 novel “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry.

Tom Hunt

More than 50 ponies were auctioned off at the 89th annual Pony Penning in Chincoteague yesterday with a record bid.

Catherine Miller of Illinois set the record with her bid of $21-thousand for a black and white filly.

WMDT reports that Deborah Davis bought one for $26-hundred.

Some of the highest bids went for ponies who will return to Assateague.

Another pony auction was the Feather Fund.

The non-profit helped give around 30 ponies to deserving children around the county.

chincoteaguebay.com

The 89th annual Pony Swim at Chincoteague gets underway today with the Saltwater Cowboys saddling up to take the herd of around 100 across the channel from Assateague Island.

The event is expected to attract some 40-thousand visitors and the swim is set to occur sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The town has been preparing for weeks for an event that a number of businesses see as better than Memorial Day Weekend.

The ponies will be auctioned off tomorrow with the proceeds going to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company which owns and takes care of the ponies.

Christopher Evanson / US Coast Guard Gallery

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) - Chincoteague firefighters known as saltwater cowboys will oversee the annual pony swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague in Virginia on July 30.

The event is preceded by a carnival, which began Friday and continues on several dates in July and early August.

Each year the wild ponies are auctioned to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which cares for the Virginia herd. This year's auction is July 31.