The dust has settled in River City, but the work continues.
The Register’s annual Iowa Bike Ride has come and gone, and RAGBRAI Mason City took some time to reflect on July 27 and fill out their notes for the next time the ride rolls through town.
“We feel very good about the event we put on and very positive about the way Mason City was showcased during this event,” said Visit Mason City Executive Director and RAGBRAI Consultant Lindsey James.
Mason City was the fourth day of the ride—Emmettsburg to Mason City—and the longest stretch at 105 miles. Dubbed the ‘Day of the Century’, the 100-mile day tradition has returned to RAGBRAI this year.
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As the midpoint of the trip, RAGBRAI Mason City planned to expand with two headlining artists and more than 50 food vendors and booths. Organizers also had to manage six camp locations, coordinate volunteers, and many other factors.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from the riders. The RAGBRAI team has been very positive about the experience we’ve had here,” said James.
According to James, RAGBRAI Mason City estimates 30,000 people come to town during the sleepover. An estimated $4.6 million was taken that day, but that figure is still being tallied. James is hoping to get actual numbers from RAGBRAI, but isn’t sure when that information will be available.
Wednesday’s 100-mile course meant a long day of riding, and many riders were disappointed that they didn’t have enough time to see all of Mason City’s highlights.
“While they may not have had time that morning to go through any of that, it was definitely on their radar, and that’s one of the goals of having events like this,” James said.
RAGBRAI Mason City surveyed local businesses to hear their thoughts on the event. Some businesses were more directly affected by RAGBRAI visitors than others, but the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“One hundred percent of respondents so far said they would support future efforts to bring back RAGBRAI,” James said.
The biggest challenge RAGBRAI Mason City faced was recruiting volunteers. There were many vacancies for volunteers, which led to some scramble for people to help out on the day of the visit.
“(RAGBRAI) just came together. All the things that made us a little bit scared resolved themselves,” James said.
Most of the volunteers who helped out had a good time, and many ended up helping out longer because they had fun. RAGBRAI volunteers will be honored with a thank you at The Music Man Square on Wednesday.
One of the takeaways for RAGBRAI Mason City is to think of ways to continue the excitement the day after when Mason City plays host again, James said.
For RAGBRAI Mason City, meetings are still being held to gather feedback and analyze best practices when the trip returns. One final detail is to once again thank our community partners and individuals for all their work on RAGBRAI.
“From a Visit Mason City perspective, we are very excited to have the event back and excited to see this community come together and do great things. We are excited to be hosting big events again,” said James.
Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at [email protected]