RAGBRAI visitors already impressed with Jefferson

The task of locating where “charter” groups will camp when RAGBRAI® overnights in Jefferson July 23 began very soon after the route was announced. The charter groups are those that travel together with their own equipment haulers. Some are as large as 700 riders and they bring their own toilet and shower facilities.

The charter groups account for about 5,000 of the 10,000 RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) riders.

RAGBRAI executive co-chair Toni Wetrich reports that as of Tuesday, scouts from 16 of the anticipated 21 large charters have visited Jefferson. The charters will camp on the empty lots and in Jefferson parks. After the charters are all placed, the remaining riders will plan to be in the main campgrounds (the high school campus, for one) and hosted in the yards of residents all over town.

Wetrich shared that every charter she has taken around Jefferson has commented on the cleanliness of the town. “They’re very impressed with our parks and how clean the streets are, the flowers planted around downtown, our artwork, how gorgeous our square and courthouse are, the building restorations, the Welcome Center, the bell tower… everything.”

Charter scouts who were part of the 2008 RAGBRAI overnight in Jefferson commented about the changes in Jefferson since then, with one group even saying Jefferson has gone through a renaissance.

Wetrich also said a group from the Quad Cities told her they had heard that Jefferson is slated to be the next Silicon Valley and that it’s THE progressive place to be in Iowa.

Chuck Offenburger (second from left) talks with CUBS scouts (from left) Loe Norber, Brad Prendergast, David Goodman and Dana Nelson on their visit in Jefferson.

Many of the groups coming to Jefferson have their own stories to tell. One of them is the Chicago Urban Bicycling Society – CUBS. The CUBS formed in 1996 and has ridden every RAGBRAI since then. The group acknowledges the hospitality of Iowans by making a donation to Camp Courageous. To date, the CUBS have donated more than $120,000 to the camp for special needs individuals.

Local RAGBRAI veteran Chuck Offenburger has known the CUBS for many years and calls it “one of the best” groups on the ride. They’ll be among the groups camping on the grounds at St Joseph Parish Center.

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