Federal shutdown cancels annual Assateague pony roundup

Posted at 10:55 PM, Oct 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-07 22:55:14-04

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (WTVR)–The popular fall roundup of the wild ponies on Assateauge Island has been cancelled.

The yearly event, put on by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company was scheduled for Friday and Saturday.  The company manages a herd of roughly 130 ponies who live on a national wildlife refuge on the island.

The island has been closed to the public since the shutdown began last week, as has NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.  Many fear the effects of last tourism, especially during such a pleasant fall, will hurt the local economy.

“Fall Round Up has been cancelled due to the childish, idiotic actions of our government,” a representative for the company posted on Facebook. “We will let everyone know when we will reschedule.”

Denise Bowden, the Public Relation officer of the Fire Company and one of the admins of the Facebook page emphasized that the shutdown would not interfere with the health and well being of the ponies.

“Rest assured that this shutdown will NOT, and I mean NOT interfere with the health and well being of our beloved ponies. Yes, we have cancelled the round up but if any issue or issues come up at all with any of them until we can do the round up, it will be taken care of!!”

The round up draws herds of tourists who hope to catch a glimpse of one of the ponies.  Every year the fire company gathers the ponies to check their health before the winter.

These are the same ponies that draw crowds for the annual pony swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague in July.