Dear Editor: 

After more than six months of planning, RAGBRAI was such a whirlwind and is now gone. 

When we think back to the very first meeting of committee members, it was overwhelming to think through all of the things we’d need to figure out in order to host an additional 30,000 people. It became clear early on that the magnitude of this event was going to require more than just a small committee to plan and put on. It was going to take an entire community. 

We are so proud to be able to say that Winterset really showed its true hospitality and stepped up to take on this enormous undertaking.

From volunteering time to sponsoring the event, community members, businesses, and non-profits joined together to make it a success. It paid off in so many ways. The feedback we’ve been receiving from riders is overwhelmingly positive. They loved Winterset and its people, and so many of them expressed their plans to come back and visit our community. And that truly was our goal – to show these people how special Winterset is, and entice them to come back for a visit. It’s not just the one event. It’s promoting who we truly are as a community. From our small businesses to the historic sites, we have so much to share with others and be proud of. 

We, as a committee, just want to take the time to thank everyone that helped make this event not only possible, but outstanding. We ended up with over 300 volunteers working countless hours, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Several churches, non-profit groups, businesses, and tourist attractions opened their doors for long hours just to make sure everyone had a wonderful experience. 

People opened up their homes and lawns to host our visitors, serving them meals and giving them beds and showers. It was quite the sight to go around town and see everything going on all at once. 

While we are still evaluating the economic impact RAGBRAI had on our town, we already feel like we can count this event as a success. We really pulled together as a community and all did our part. Winterset should be proud! We are so grateful for all of the help and support over the last few months. We showed our guests that everyone in our town is a winner, and we look forward to hosting RAGBRAI again someday.