Crowds Turn Out for Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Crowds Turn Out for Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim

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WBOC Chopper 16 aerial photo of Wednesday's 89th annual Chincoteague Pony Swim. WBOC Chopper 16 aerial photo of Wednesday's 89th annual Chincoteague Pony Swim.

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.- Tens of thousands of visitors watched dozens of ponies make their 89th annual  swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Wednesday.

Under clear skies the so-called "Saltwater Cowboys" rounded up approximately 150 wild ponies living on Assateague for the swim, which got under way shortly before noon during what is known as slack tide.

The first foal ashore will be named King or Queen Neptune and will given away at a raffle on the carnival grounds.

The other foals are auctioned off Thursday, beginning at 8 a.m.,  to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.  The fire company takes care of those ponies.  Organizers say the auction also helps control the size of the herd.

Auction winners receive a certificate saying they have purchased an official Chincoteague pony.

Ponies that go unsold and those that are donated back to the fire department will roam free for another year on the national wildlife refuge on Assateague.

The annual swim was made famous by Marguerite Henry's 1947 novel "Misty of Chincoteague."

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