RAGBRAI will get underway in about 100 days. Planning is well underway in Keokuk to be the final stop for the seven-day bicycle ride across Iowa in late July.
Riders will leave Council Bluffs on July 21 and travel about 427 miles before arriving in Keokuk July 27. That final day, riders will spend a few hours traversing rural Lee County before ending up along the riverfront in Keokuk.
Kira Kruszynski, a member of Keokuk's RAGBRAI Advisory Committee, said about 30-40 people are helping to plan, and there are plenty of opportunities for more to join in.
Kruszynski said Keokuk’s RAGBRAI theme is “Biggest Dam Dip on the Mississipp.”
“What we really wanted to do was highlight the best that Keokuk has to offer,” said Kruszynski. “That really is the riverfront, the geodes, the bald eagles. A lot of folks do come to see Lock & Dam 19. The dam is the largest on the Mississippi and certainly has quite a history and story behind it. So we wanted to be able to feature those things as best we could. The ‘Biggest Dam Dip’ is how we came up with that.”
The advisory committee announced the theme with a short video featuring pictures of Keokuk and various examples of dips: cheese dip, chocolate dip, exercise dips, and dancing dips.
Kruszynski said it is important to showcase “The Dip.”
“Especially folks who are riding RAGBRAI for the very first time or for folks who are riding RAGBRAI as a way to show their triumph over something,” said Kruszynski. “The Dip is the big climax of the ride. They have gone all this way and then they dip their tire in the river.”
Kruszynski said having the final spot in RAGBRAI does require a little more from the community.
She said riders will arrive in Keokuk on Friday, July 19 and remain in town until Saturday, July 20. That allows them to leave their vehicles near RAGBRAI's finish line and catch a ride to the starting point in Council Bluffs.
"We are in need of community volunteers who can provide space for tents, floor space, bed and/or bathroom facilities," said Kruszynski. "We will need homes, churches, schools, etc. for [July 19 & July 27]."
Kruszynski said people who can help with housing will be able to sign up after May 1. She said it is limted to registered riders and there is no requirement to entertain, feed, or transport their guests.
Kruszynski said people can keep up with the local planning efforts in Keokuk through the advisory committee’s website and Facebook page. She said the next planning meeting is Monday, April 15 at 12:00 p.m. at the Keokuk Tourism Office.