Our Story

Our Story

Our Family, Keeping Your Family Connected Since 1908

Ponderosa was founded by Harmon Bigelow and is one of a small handful of companies in the Central Valley that is still family-owned and operated for over 100 years. From our humble beginnings as a stagecoach transportation company, carrying U.S. mail with just two horses and a small spring wagon, to having the first woman President of the California Telephone Association, our company has a rich and progressive history.

Today, we’re proud to say our Ponderosa family has grown to 80 employees who serve thousands of customers in rural communities throughout our region. And it’s the values we began with that have brought us here and will lead us into the future: our passion for service to our community, our dedication to preserving a beloved rural American lifestyle for generations to come and our mission to keep people connected to the ones they love.

Ponderosa Timeline

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Click here for a text-only version of our timeline

Equestrian Trailblazers

Two pioneering women encourage local equestrian trail riding and camaraderie by sharing their considerable knowledge of the Central Sierra Nevada equestrian trails experience through guide books and Internet networking.

They’ve spent countless hours riding and documenting decades-worn foot paths, gently tagging lost or new routes and finding staging areas for big trailer rigs. Many other riders, hikers and bikers also help keep these paths open and accessible by word of mouth and frequent use. For Ann Bates and Sherry Antill of North Fork, sharing their knowledge of the equestrian trail experience has become their passion. Using digital photography and meticulous note-taking, their networking website was born along with their first self-published horseback trail guide book in 2008 and a second in 2010. Combined, the two volumes describe 41 unique trail rides, as well as educate riders about safety, trail sharing etiquette and “leave no trace” principles.

“Our primary goal is to get people out riding their horses and to experience this amazing country that is basically our own backyard”, Ann explains enthusiastically, “and to network online with other riders as to current trail conditions. Regular riders contact us, or make comments on our website about trail closures, hazards or spectacular seasonal color spots, so it is useful to check online before you go.”

Going into new territory on your own can be intimidating to a lot of riders. The rides are not rated by difficulty – that must be defined by each rider, and the ability of their horse. CSN Horse Trails provides the comprehensive information and trail photos to help them choose their ride experience. “We love our horses but, honestly, they can get excited over any fool thing,” Sherry punctuates with a laugh of experience. “In a wilderness setting you increase the adventure potential dramatically.
Ponderosa’s Broadband service has enabled us to take some of the ‘scary’ out of the equation with our online presence.”

Ponderosa, a technology service provider, is pleased to support Sherry and Ann with modern communication tools which enable their unique rural lifestyle; a venture in which the entire community benefits. We applaud their trail blazing spirit. Visit the Central Sierra Nevada Horse Trails website for more information: www.csnhorsetrails.com