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Return of RAGBRAI is hopeful sign

Residents urged to volunteer for summer special event

When hundreds of bicyclists converge in Fort Dodge on July 26, the community will have a unique opportunity to showcase itself.

Those bicyclists will be part of the annual RAGBRAI event, and they’ll be staying in Fort Dodge overnight. They were actually supposed to come to the city last summer, but the bike ride was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With COVID-19 case numbers dropping and vaccinations gradually increasing, the prospects of the bicyclists arriving this summer look pretty good.

In a best case scenario, an overnight visit by RAGBRAI riders could have a $1 million economic impact on the community.

Fort Dodge needs to be prepared before the bicyclists get here. Last year, local leaders set up a committee to prepare. Now that committee is starting to, as Mayor Matt Bemrich put it, ”get re-energized.” The goal of the group is to put together an event for the riders that will be both spectacular and safe.

The planning committee is still looking for help. Anyone who is interested in volunteering should contact Webster County Supervisor Niki Conrad at niki.conrad@webstercountyia.org.

After COVID-19 cancelled event after event last year, the announcement that RAGBRAI is a go signals that a hoped-for return to normal life may be coming. Even those who are not avid bicyclists should take pleasure in that.

We encourage anyone who is remotely interested to sign up to help with RAGBRAI.

And as the preparations unfold, remember that hopeful, happier days lay ahead.

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