Created: 07/23/2014 6:57 PM KAALtv.com
By: Justin Thompson-Gee
(ABC 6 News) -- Months of preparation and thousands of volunteers have come together to make this the Best Hump Day Ever as 15,000 riders and spectators are expected to descend upon Mason City.
“It’s like a circus on wheels,” says David Yonda riding in his 26th RAGBRAI.
It may have been the shortest riding day of this year’s RAGBRAI but that just means more time to enjoy the food, music, naps and tire washing Mason City had to offer, “this is exciting, this is just incredible and just to see the people downtown and hear all the great comments from the bikers, I’m just really proud,” says Jodee O’Brien organizer of RAGBRAI Mason City.
Yonder expressed appreciation for the influx of small towns this year, “but this year is really special because there are so many small towns. And the small towns are really neat because you can walk anywhere around town once you get there.”
With Mason City so close to the Minnesota border, a group of riders from Austin made their way down just for the day, “I did RAGBRAI four times back in the 80s with my grandfather and my family and I thought it would be a fun experience for my kids to have today,” says Andy Munger.
And those amateur riders seem to be hurting just a little more than the veterans, “legs are a little tired, seat could be a little more comfortable,” says David Scheevel.
With 8,500 bikers and thousands more day riders and spectators, Mason City is preparing for a big economic boost.
“Yes, we’ve been busy, we’ve been what we call steady busy which has been great,” John Nordi, owner of State Street Deli says.
“They say we’ll get about three to three and a half million dollars in economic impact and revenue coming in,” O’Brien says.
Don’t rule out a RAGBRAI return to Mason City, city officials tell us they would love to host again. Festivities in Mason City go until 12:30 a.m. , then the clean-up crew comes in and it’s back to business tomorrow. RAGBRAI riders make their way Thursday from Mason City to Waverly, a total of 65 miles.