INDIANOLA, Iowa -- It's home to Simpson College and the National Balloon Classic among others, and soon, Indianola will be host to 10,000 cyclists.
Out of 200 interested towns, Indianola was selected as RAGBRAI's third overnight stop on this year's route after being turned down last year. "It's fantastic. The exposure is a really big thing for us," smiles city manager, Ryan Waller. The last time RAGBRAI rolled through town was ten years ago in 2009. Waller is relying on past experience to help plan for this year. "We have a tremendous amount of knowledge in that area and we will be tapping into our local resources first," he says.
The town of 15,000 is expected to double overnight during the ride and residents are already asking how they can help accommodate cyclists.
"We’ve gotten messages saying, 'hey I've got some property over here if you need to use it,'" Waller says. "Businesses are already saying have we’ve got some space for campsites or restroom facilities."
The ride is a huge economic boost for overnight towns especially for locally owned businesses.
"Every year, we watch the big RAGBRAI reveal and hope for it to hit one of our locations and to hit three was a good surprise last night," laughs Amanda Ripperger. She and her her husband own two restaurants in Indianola and another in Winterset, the second overnight stop on the ride. The couple is expecting all hands on deck when it comes to staffing and plans are already in the works on how to make RAGBRAI 2019 memorable.
"Text messages are going out to some of our favorite musicians and we're just trying figuring out the logistics of how to serve the most people and throw a good party for them," says Ripperger, co-owner of the Sports Page and Brickhouse Tavern.
Indianola city leaders say they plan to host community meetings in the near future for volunteers interested in helping to organize the event.