Glenwood will make pitch to host RAGBRAI in 2024

Bicyclists roll along Gaston Avenue east of Glenwood during RAGBRAI in 2016.

The Glenwood City Council has given the Mills County Chamber Of Commerce the green light to pursue RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) for 2024.

Addressing the city council at its regular meeting last Tuesday, Aug. 8, Mills County Chamber Of Commerce Executive Director Jennie Davis said the application process for towns that want to host RAGBRAI next summer is now open.

“I just have to have the city’s blessing to apply,” Davis said. “Annually, I think there’s about 20,000 riders and probably more support staff than that.”

Davis said the Glenwood area can adequately cover the 70-80 acres of green space required to serve as an overnight town on the ride.  

If selected, Glenwood would likely serve as the starting point for the event - the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world. RAGBRAI has started in Glenwood seven times over its 50-year history - 1980, 1984, 1989, 1992, 2003, 2011 and 2016.

Davis said the last time Glenwood hosted the ride RAGBRAI officials estimated the economic impact for overnight towns to be $3 million.

“It would be great for all the small businesses that are currently kind of struggling right now with everybody cutting back on non-necessities,” Davis said. ‘It would be really nice to have it announced in January that we were the town and give them something to look forward to.”

RAGBRAI is a major undertaking for local law enforcement communities but the Glenwood Police Department is supportive of the ride coming to Glenwood.

“It’s good for the town. I think a lot of people enjoy it and it gives us a chance to showcase our city,” Glenwood Police Lt. Kirk Worcester told city council members. “It’s a lot of work but it was an experience.  It was fun –something different.

“The last time we had it, I think we maybe had only two arrests that night and quite frankly they were both locals.”

Glenwood City Administrator Amber Farnan said it’s early in the process but she believes the city will be given strong consideration to host the ride.

“I feel we have a pretty good shot because it hasn’t been south for awhile,” she said.
In addition to the city, Davis said she intends to seek letters of support from the Mills County Board of Supervisors, Glenwood Community School District and Mills County Economic Development Foundation.

The route for RAGBRAI LI will be announced in late January 2024.


The Opinion-Tribune

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