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Waterloo prepares to play host to RAGBRAI

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- For the biking enthusiast, it is never too early to start thinking about RAGBRAI. For the overnight host cities, they're already thinking about how they'll handle the large influx of people.

For Waterloo, it has been a decade since the riders descended on the city. Of course, a lot has changed in that time and it is what the city's visitor's bureau wants to highlight.

Tavis Hall, Experience Waterloo's Executive Director, wants to bring the riders closer to town. In 2010, riders and their teams stayed overnight near the Isle Casino and Lost Island Waterpark.

Hall hinted at Exchange Park as being a potential spot for riders to stay, bringing them closer to downtown. Closer proximity to downtown, means more dollars spent at local business.

"One night in July can help make a really good month, which makes a good quarter, which makes a good year. That can keep doors open," Hall said.

There are always concerns about the amount of trash generated by the event and left behind by riders. Hall said they are planning ahead for that by adding clean up crews and extra trash cans.

"Our planning is really thorough. Make sure there is enough trash receptacles and clean up crews. There's a full committee of people from our community. We don't want to have to pick up a bunch of extra stuff. Why would anyone want to do that," he said.

There is still a lot of planning and preparation that needs to be done. Experience Waterloo is holding a RAGBRAI open house at SingleSpeed Brewing in Waterloo on Friday, January 31 from 4-7 p.m. People can sign up to volunteer and join committees.

For information such as registration deadlines for RAGBRAI, visit the organization's website here.

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) -- The overnight stops for RAGBRAI were officially announced Saturday evening.

The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa stops in eight Iowa towns for overnight stops in 2020. RAGBRAI is one of the state's largest tourism events, generating an estimated $3 million per day during overnight stops according to a study by the University of Iowa.

This is the 48th year for the ride and organizers said during the watch party they expect this year to be the biggest year yet.

The communities (in order) hosting stops this year are: Le Mars, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa, Maquoketa, Clinton.

"RAGBRAI is a great Iowa tradition that we look forward to welcoming back to Waterloo. This annual ride presents Waterloo with an excellent opportunity to showcase our progress since last hosting in 2010," said Tavis Hall, Executive Director of Experience Waterloo, "We are excited to help rally our community as we all strive to highlight Waterloo as a great experience for riders from across the state, nation and globe."

RAGBRAI will be July 19-25 with registration open until April 1. Riders wanting to just do one day of the ride can register until June 1.

Pass-through towns and meeting locations will be announced in March.

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Collin Dorsey

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