RAGBRAI planning is gathering steam

RAGBRAI® – the Register’s Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa – is still four months away but planning in the overnight towns, including Jefferson, is well underway. RAGBRAI will bring more than 10,000 guests to spend the night in Jefferson Monday, July 23.

Most of the planning is being done by volunteers in an organizational structure suggested by the RAGBRAI staff. The executive committee includes Matt and Toni Wetrich, Philip and Bridgette Heisterkamp, Brett Cranston and Ian Wilkinson, and Thomas and Susan Laehn. Nikki Uebel is treasurer, Toni Wetrich is recording secretary, and Sheilah Pound is the convention and visitors bureau representative.

Wetrichs will coordinate the efforts of the housing, campgrounds, showers/sanitation/recycling, and Ride Right committee. Heisterkamps are working with the publicity, hospitality, web and social media, information center and volunteers committees. Cranston and Wilkinson will oversee the food and vendors, electrical, beverage garden and entertainment/special events committees. Laehns are working with the public safety, law enforcement, medical, communications and transportation committees.

Chairs of most of the committee have been identifies, but dozens more committee members and other volunteers are still needed.

An advisory board has also been gathered to assist the executive board with any community concerns and the challenges of each committee. The advisory board is not a decision-making group but can help gain consensus and share information with the community.

Member of the advisory board are Craig Berry, Pete Bardole, Mike Holden, Peg Raney, Chuck and Carla Offenburger, Mike Palmer, Tori Riley, Michael Reese, the Rev Gordon Moen and Amy Milligan.

Local RAGBRAI organizers have a 300-page book of guidelines, procedures and suggestions to follow in their planning.

The executive board, committee chairs and advisory boards from each of the seven overnight towns met in Des Moines last Thursday with RAGBRAI staff and persons from 2017 host towns for an information-packed day. Jefferson had the largest group at the meeting with 26 persons spending the day learning about their various RAGBRAI duties.

Each overnight town develops its own logo and theme. The Jefferson committee will reveal the theme and logo at a festive event Monday, April 9, at the Greene County Community Center. Watch for more information.

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