Rural Towns with Big Hearts Greet Team BOB

Posted by on Jul 26 in RAGBRAI

We just finished Day 2 – 65.4 miles from Atlantic (Iowa’s Coca-Cola capital) to Carroll, Iowa. When we pulled into a city of 10,000 people with a volume of riders and support vehicles that make up RAGBRAI, I thought it would once again overwhelm this city. But Carroll showed its worth – in how they welcomed the ride (with families lining the streets applauding each biker), offered their homes and lawns to riders to sleep overnight, and provided anything it took. Their excitement for being part of RAGBRAI was palpable, and their appreciation was so sincere.

Bikers in Kimballton

The ride was very steep – nearly 5,000 vertical feet over the 65 miles. But it was made up mostly of undulating hills across the agricultural landscape of corn and soybeans. Through Elk Horn, Kimballton, Manning, Templeton, Dedham, Willey and into Carroll, families and community organizations welcomed each wave of fatigued riders with smiles and waves, water bottles and snacks in a way only Iowans can do. As an example, as we rode into Templeton we spotted the local fire department offering an “All You Can Eat” breakfast for $5 – biscuits & gravy, pancakes, eggs and sausage. There are many places in this country where you can’t park the car for $5, but here the local Fire Marshall said, “We’ll make more money for our local charity activity through this breakfast than anything we do all year – we’re very popular this morning.”

The prospects and virtues of the individual cities are quite varied. In some cases (e.g., Atlantic or Willey), their economies are very robust – sustained by either strong local businesses or the strength of the corn economy as a result of ethanol and export demand. You can see it in their infrastructure, their schools, and (most importantly from our perspective) the quality of their local baseball fields. In other cases (e.g., Manning), they are struggling to equip their facilities with the most basic of features. Tuesday we’ll be meeting with representatives of a town that has had to abandon its youth sports activities because of funding. By the way, we committed to helping the folks in Manning with lights and a scoreboard so that their meager facilities could be used during a broader time frame each day to support their children.

One of the awe-striking sites that greets Team BOB along the route

Keep checking back for more stories and pictures – thank you everyone for your support of Build Our Ballpark!

Best regards,
Build Our Ballpark Team