Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 29, 2013

Planning for RAGBRAI begins

ANDY GOODELL
Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — This past Saturday, the 2013 route for RAGBRAI was announced at the Route Announcement Party in Des Moines. The route will include Oskaloosa.

Beginning in Council Bluffs July 21, the route will include an overnight stop in Oskaloosa July 25. Other cities on the route include Harlan, Perry, Des Moines, Knoxville, Fairfield and Fort Madison.

Jon Sullivan, executive director of the Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group, said the RAGBRAI stop in Oskaloosa will be an opportunity to show off the community and what it has to offer. He noted that a lot of changes have happened in Oskaloosa since the last time the city was a RAGBRAI stop back in 2003. Sullivan said it will be an opportunity to show off Oskaloosa’s quality of life and cited things like the golf courses, swimming pool and Lacey Recreation Complex.

Of course, there is still a lot of planning yet to be done in preparation for the RAGBRAI stop in Oskaloosa. Sullivan said there is a lot of committee work that will need to take place.

“Our community is full of good volunteers,” said Sullivan. “We will be calling on a lot of people.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the OACDG at 672-2591, said Sullivan.

Sullivan said the fact that Oskaloosa is an overnight RAGBRAI stop will mean a “boom” for the local economy. Riders are expected to spend money at restaurants and other businesses, he added.

“We really need to take advantage of that,” Sullivan said, adding that he would like to make Oskaloosa a memorable stop for riders.

Jeff Wilford, co-owner of Bobzilla’s Bicycle Werks in Oskaloosa, has a few RAGBRAI memories of his own. This year will be the 16th time he’s ridden on RAGBRAI.

Wilford was at this past weekend’s Route Announcement Party in Des Moines and said he was nervously optimistic that Oskaloosa would be picked as an overnight stop.

Wilford said RAGBRAI week is the only time he takes vacation during the year. He also noted that the stop will be significant for the local economy.

Bobzilla’s Bicycle Werks will be open July 25 when RAGBRAI stops in Oskaloosa, Wilford added.

Wilford also said RAGBRAI riders include people of all ages, shapes and sizes.

“There’s a RAGBRAI for everyone,” said Wilford.