In July, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, known to all of us as RAGBRAI, once again visited Ames as an overnight stop. This was the 50th anniversary of the Iowa summer tradition and Ames has been part of it from the beginning. Ames was an overnight stop on the original 1973 RAGBRAI route, and the city served as an overnight town in 1983, 2008, and most recently in 2018.
By most accounts, the day was an incredible success and Ames showcased well for the 60,000+ guests that stopped here. The weather was hot, but when riders got to Ames, experienced Jack Trice Stadium, visited Downtown Ames, and let loose with Hairball and their litany of sing-along anthem songs, it felt great to be in Ames.
Thank you to Discover Ames who served our community as the lead organization for the overnight stop. They did an amazing job and were a great partner with other organizations that included the City of Ames, Story County, Iowa State University, and the Ames Chamber of Commerce, along with many other businesses who prepared for the day and volunteers who were essential to making the day a success.
Few realize how much of a heroic feat it is to host an event like this, and to do it well. I’m hesitant to even attempt to calculate the number of hours our community invested into this one day, not to mention the financial commitment that was required across our community.
There are a lot of ways that we could try to determine our return on investment for this day. I would encourage us to not get caught up in those details, but to acknowledge that it is simply the right work. RAGBRAI is an event that provides national attention to our state, and it is only possible because of individual community commitments to make it successful. From the accounts that I heard, Ames shined on that day, and that was a result of our community coming together to embrace the chaos.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.