MASON CITY, Iowa – RAGBRAI riders have started their journey across the state of Iowa and are getting closer and closer to our area.
They took off from Rock Valley on Sunday and will be making their way into Emmetsburg sometime on Monday night.
As they get closer to our area, emergency management and planning crews are kicking their work into high gear to make sure everything is ready to go for the big arrival.
Cerro Gordo County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Steve O’Neil tells us he is doing his best to keep things calm before the RAGBRAI storm, and he says the only way of doing that is planning.
“Anytime you have that many people, it’s kind of a ‘bite the nails time,’” he explains, “but, we’ve got a lot of good people trained and we have a lot of procedures already in place so, it’s just about doing your job and realize there’s going to be a few more people.”
“A few more people” might be the understatement of the summer as Mason City Fire Department Chief Bob Platts tells us they’re expecting more than 30,000 people in Mason City.
Platts says they’re working on understanding how everything will be laid out down to where the individual teams campgrounds.
He says the more they know about how things will run, the better since it will help keep visitors safe.
“If they call 911, they may not have a good reference as to where they are, so finding those people could be an issue,” Platts explains, “If they can at least identify ‘I’m with this team,’ we can look at the maps and say, ‘okay they are in this area of this park.’”
Chief Platts says they have been talking with officials in Clear Lake and other previous host cities to understand how things worked for them, specifically the volume of medical calls and the concerns that came up that might have been unexpected.
Authorities are also reminding folks to stay up to date on road closures and no parking zones.
You can find a complete list of areas to avoid driving through or parking in on the RAGBRAI Mason City website.