Started in 1962, the annual Jackass Mail Run recreates the old west when mail to Springville was delivered by horse or mule-drawn wagon. Hundreds of riders on horseback, covered wagons, buggies and stagecoaches gather in Porterville, a city 20 miles west, and set out to bring the mail to Springville during this classic event that celebrates the town's cultural heritage.
The mail is collected for weeks in special handmade rustic boxes, is stamped with a special "Jackass Mail Run Stamp" which is cancelled the day before the big event, and transported to Springville. Festivities leading up to the Mail Run include old-fashioned hoedowns and workdays assembling or repairing the wagons, acclimating the horses and mules, and getting ready.
In Springville, festival goers gather in the Springville Veterans Memorial Park and up and down the highway to witness the Mail Run. There are vendors offering western themed items, live music by a country western band in the park, demonstrations of old time crafts, and various entertainment. But, the main entertainment is the mail wagon entering town. For more than 50 years, Springville Bandits have attempted to 'hold-up' the mail. They come from alleys, rooftops, and behind trees to fire on the wagons and wagonmasters; and, of course, the wagonmasters and outriders fire back in defense. The air turns blue with gun smoke as the crowd cheers them on. For 50 years, the bandits have been vanquished and the wagonmaster has delivered the strongbox to the Springville postmaster!
When calm is restored, festival goers celebrate the peace with an old-fashioned western hoedown at the Springville Inn featuring a local country western band preceded by a barbeque at the Springville Rodeo Grounds. The Inn has hosted the Jackass Mail Run Dance for more than 50 years. If weather permits, the dance is around the Old Oak Tree at the Inn. If not, the dance is upstairs where the Inn's ghosts are said to roam.
Springville is located 20 miles east of Porterville in Central California just below the southernmost stands of giant sequoias. Visitors from Southern California can make their way north on Highway 5 to Highway 99, then northeast on Highway 65 to the Springville exit. From Northern California, visitors should take Highway 99 south to Tipton, then travel east on Highway 190 to Springville.