By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CAMANCHE — Hosting a major event like RAGBRAI is a big task for a small town, but Camanche City Administrator Tom Roth feels the city has what it takes to be a contender for the 2014 Iowa ride.
Roth had brought up the subject of applying at several city council meetings in July and August, and now that the paper work has been filed, he feels positive about the opportunity for the city to host.
“We sent in an application and I think Camanche would be a great ending town for RAGBRAI,” Roth said. “I look at Camanche and the schools and the facilities, and I think we have what it takes.”
Roth has experienced the grandeur that is RAGBRAI after assisting as co-chair in 2007 when Bellevue hosted the 10,000 riders overnight, but he knows how much work would be in store for Camanche.
“It’s quite a process and a lot of work,” Roth said. “RAGBRAI has got a lot of logistical issues and variables that go into planning a route.”
RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said although many of those variables play a major role in choosing a city, they are not absolutely essential to qualify a city.
Some community features RAGBRAI planners look for is a city’s ability to host a large event, a lot of infrastructure, plenty of space and volunteers that are willing to work with RAGBRAI staff.
“It’s gotta be conducive with the community,” Juskiewicz said. “The (city) could have all the variables we look for but without the commitment of the community it won’t work.”
Although there is some hesitation from a few Camanche council members, Roth knows the town will rally together to host the event if the city is chosen, which according to Juskiewicz is not as far off as expected.
“We try to go to towns that we haven’t been to in a while or ever,” Juskiewicz said. “(Since) Tom has such RAGBRAI experience, that could weigh heavily in Camanche’s favor.”
The announcement will not be made until Jan. 25 though, so for the time being, the RAGBRAI staff is busy sifting through more than 200 entries from cities across Iowa while the city of Camanche must wait patiently for the announcement.
If the city is chosen to host the 10,000 or more bicyclists on the final night of their journey across Iowa, it could mean major revenue for Camanche businesses and an opportunity for them to showcase the river town.
Juskiewicz said this year he has seen a lot of new cities and towns putting their name into the drawing, and is excited for RAGBRAI to travel to somewhere new.
“We’ve been doing this for 41 years so if we can put some new wrinkles into it then that’s great,” Juskiewicz said. “And it’s especially attractive when there’s a new town (applying) that’s got leadership in place and good infrastructure to offer us.”