Housing RAGBRAI riders

MASON CITY, IA – The count down to RAGBRAI 2014 is now under 100 days. This year Mason City is the primary overnight location for riders which has organizers looking for volunteers.

Price and Kris Dahlstrom have biked their share of miles during RAGBRAI. Over the years they have been welcomed in numerous homes for over night stays and have been overwhelmed by the hospitality.

Now that riders are coming through Mason City, they can return the favor.

“One thing is kind of a chance to give back because we’ve been hosted many times ourselves,” says Price.

But it’s going to take more than just this couple and campgrounds to house the amount of people who will be coming through on July 23rd.

“They’re going to have probably 25,000 to 30,000 people with day riders and the week long riders and the road riders who don’t necessarily sign up,” says organizer Jodee O’Brien.

For some, campsites are just fine but others are looking for a different kind of experience.

“People like to get away from the camp grounds and maybe get to know some of the people in town,” says Price.

After a long day on a bike, Kris says nothing feels better than a warm shower.

“To have a nice place to go and a good shower and friendly people and something to drink is wonderful,” she says.

Now they are looking for volunteers to show riders the same hospitality they’ve experienced.

“We’re trying to recruit people from Mason City who would like to open up their homes to meet some new people,” says Kris.

“35% are from Iowa and the other 65% are from around the nation and world so it’s kind of a cool way to meet people,” adds O’Brien.

When you sign up to volunteer, you can specify exactly what you can and cannot offer to riders.

“We have housing form to fill out and say I have two beds, a bathroom, shower or if you even just have a yard and a spicket, they usually like that too,” says O’Brien.

Riders and hosts will be then be matched up based on these specifications.

“After May 1st is when we’ll start matching people up you know we get their info from the riders because they’re registered riders then we get the info and we look through and see what they want and we try to match them up the best we can so they have a good experience,” says Kris.

Which is a big goal for organizers because it means a lot to Mason City’s economy.

“The big thing is to have them come back and say oh we had so much fun in Mason City,” says O’Brien.

Organizers are looking for 250-300 households for the overnight stay.

Click this link and fill out what you can offer RAGBRAI participants: http://www.ragbraimasoncity.com/volunteers/

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