Thanks RAGBRAI for 10 Great Years! I’m Looking Forward to Many More!

RAGBRAI GuysToday marks my 10th anniversary working with RAGBRAI, and they have been 10 wonderful years!

I’d just like to take the time to say a few words of thanks to some people that have made these past 10 years so incredible.

I’d first like to thank my wife and kids for saying “yes” we will move from Florida to Iowa.  They have been incredibly supportive this entire journey.  Thanks to everyone for making my family feel so welcome here.  It started with a great “welcome to Iowa” party and has been great ever since.  My wife is even OK that our anniversary happens every year during RAGBRAI (July 24) and we are never together for it!  We celebrate it afterwards, of course!

Next, a huge thanks to the three people that have helped mentor and guide me the most since coming to Iowa.  Thanks to Jim Green, Dan McKay and Jack Stubbe.  “Greenie” worked for 37 years for the Register and took over RAGBRAI from Don Benson.  I promised Greenie I would maintain the ride and hopefully make him proud that he chose me to succeed him.  Dan has chaired the RIDE RIGHT committee all of my years and is a constant sounding board for advice.  Jack has been the leader of the RAGBRAI Crew and always the calm in the storm the week of the event.  You guys are the best!

The RAGBRAI staff is small but AWESOME.  We currently have just three that do the work of a dozen to get ready for RAGBRAI.  Thanks Scott, Andrea and Linda for everything.  Appreciate everything that Wes and Kristen did prior to this year as well.

The RAGBRAI Crew is our extended family.  Some have been at it for 30-plus years and keep coming back.  They work RAGBRAI because the love it and love being involved.  I really appreciate the ones that gave me a chance when Greenie retired.  Some great ones have retired recently (Zenor, Judy and Gary especially).  Thanks for the friendship and dedication to our RAGBRAI Family.

To the “Mount Rushmore” legends of RAGBRAI (John Karras, Don Kaul, Don Benson & Clarence Pickard) for founding the great event and to Don and Clarence for helping making it legendary.  Thanks also to the former Register hosts that followed them, Chuck Offenburger and Brian Duffy.  I appreciate your friendship, great talents and love of our state and its ride.  You all are the foundation that made this event what it is today!

The Register departments that we work with give us amazing support.  The Marketing Departments led by Tom, Susan and now Kurt have always been there to help promote the Register’s top event.  Special thanks to Suzanne, Patrick, Matt and others for making RAGBRAI look great in print and online.  There are so many at the Register that proudly help in many capacities and we appreciate all the support over these years.

The Dream Team has a special place in my heart and my hats off to the mentors that keep it running.  Too many to thank as everyone gives up their time for the kids.

Our 10 Bike Shops and the 20 Charters of RAGBRAI are run by some awesome people.  It has been great getting to know all of you over these years.

To the host town committees, you are the backbone of the event.  I have made some lifelong friendships from working with the town leaders.  Some of these town leaders have turned into some of my good friends today.  Thanks for always welcoming us into your communities.

To the safety agencies that keep us rolling safely along, your support is the best in the nation!  RAGBRAI is so fortunate to have the Iowa State Patrol have our back.  Thanks to the SEOs and the Alcohol Team (aka Team Buzzkill) and special thanks to Genie, Scott and #261 for keeping us safe.  Thanks also to Bob Libby and his Care Ambulance team.  You guys are consummate professionals and fun to be around.  Let’s keep shooting for “Zero”!

Thanks to Mark Wyatt at the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.  A pleasure working with you and even more is having you as a friend.

Thanks to Ketch at GeoBike.  You are one funny dude!

To Pope….  You have taught me everything about finding the best culinary treats around and catching live music.

Dave and Brent, thanks for everything!

Thanks to Tim and James, the first Iowans I really knew.

And lastly, to the riders of RAGBRAI Nation….  Thank you for letting me work on the best bike ride in the world.  I feel so blessed to have gotten to know so many wonderful folks over these years.  I have friends throughout the world that I have met on the ride.  It makes you feel great when you mention to the C.U.B.S. that you’ll be in Chicago for a Bike Expo and 30 people show up to meet you at a restaurant with about a day’s notice or the guys of Team Darryl meet you for a beer (or two) at O’Hare when you are switching planes with a hour in-between flights.  I have met a friend from ButtIce on the ride that I now regularly catch a Gator football game with just about every fall.   I could go on and on with the friends that I have met over these past ten years on RAGBRAI.

I’m sure I forgot a few people that have been a tremendous help over the years, so I’m sorry if I inadvertently did not mention your help.

My friend Greenie gave me the best piece of advice when he said we need to teach you how to truly understand Iowa as it is different than any other place.  He was right.  Iowans are the most caring and hospitable folks in the world.  They are what make RAGBRAI so uniquely special.  Since I was not born here, I can never be called an Iowan, but I’ll always try to live up to the ideals that Iowans live by.

Thanks for these first 10 years and I look forward to many, many more!

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