RAGBRAI makes communities ‘swamped in a good way’

Local News

One iconic bike ride, giving a boost to our smaller communities.

Riders who finished RAGBRAI may be home. But for our home, we’re still seeing the incredible impact from RAGBRAI to the economy.

More than 20,000 riders traveled 454 miles across Iowa over a full week. Two of those stops included DeWitt and Clinton, bringing life to restaurants and other businesses.

Weeks of preparation in Clinton to welcome bike riders on the final stretch of RAGBRAI. The boat ramp where riders dipped their tires in at the end was near NelsonCorp Field, home of the Clinton LumberKings. The LumberKings stadium was one of the many hot spots for the riders as they opened up for concessions. General Manager Ted Tornow says in order to get ready they arrived at 5:30 in the morning.

“The riders started showing up here about six o’clock and I thought it would be a fairly busy day, but it’s been beyond busy,” said Tornow. “We have been swamped in a good way.”

Tornow says having RAGBRAI end in Clinton was a big boost for the community after dealing with the pandemic last year.

“I know everything that the ballclub went through and the economy everywhere,” he said. “Okay, this is huge. A definite boost in the arm, a booster shot or a lift up whatever you want to call it, but I’ll tell you what it’s almost like nothing ever happened. People are just excited to be out. They’re health conscious, they’re riding, and they’re just having a great time here.”

Tornow was expecting a big crowd on hand, but the amount of people was almost overwhelming, which nearly caused the ballpark to run out of food on Saturday.

“We may have to call in some reserves, but it’s a very good problem for me to have,” Tornow said.

This is the third RAGBRAI that Tornow and the LumberK ings have been a part of. He says this one was by far the busiest.

“The first two were not this busy,” he said. “I don’t know if things changed or if people just wanted cold beer and hot dogs and hamburgers and stuff.”

it ended up being so full of life that Tornow ended up helping in concessions.

“They had me wrapping hot dogs,” he said. “You know it’s a busy day when the boss man has to pitch in and break sweat and put on some food service gloves, but I’m more than happy to do that.”

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