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RAGBRAI and its tens of thousands of bicyclists and supporters are coming to Iowa Falls, whether the community is ready or not. The difference between Tuesday, July 27 being just another stop on a ride across the state, and a memorable stay for those visitors will be the army of volunteers that greets them.

Leading the effort to line up those volunteers and assign them to jobs across town is a committee of women who know something about volunteering and about RAGBRAI. Marianne Jones was a co-chair of the Iowa Falls RAGBRAI committee in 2004, the last time the ride spent a night in Iowa Falls. This time, she returned to the ranks as part of the Volunteer Committee. She and fellow committee members Lois Rieber and Teresa Rickel have been working to recruit the hundreds of people who will be needed in two weeks.

“The most important thing we have to do is come off looking Iowa Falls Nice,” Jones said, “but in order to do that, we surely need volunteers.”

Just a few weeks ago, organizers were worried they wouldn’t have enough people to help. In response, committee members have been active in their recruitment efforts. Jones said that as she's spoken with people in the community, and she's been sharing her RAGBRAI experiences so locals know what to expect and how they can help. Having been through it before, she can offer insight and advice.

“I think some people think, ‘If I have bikers coming to my house, I better cook supper for them.’ You really don’t need to,” Jones said. “Make the bikers go downtown and eat. If you want to do something for them, just have snacks for them or put out rolls in the morning.”


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