JEFFERSON SURVIVES TSUNAMI OF SPANDEX
By ANDREW MCGINN
Bottom line: No one died.
It’s difficult to say for sure just how many people took part Monday in Jefferson’s 24-hour RAGBRAI party.
Toni Wetrich, executive co-chair of the Jefferson RAGBRAI Committee, put the number at anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000.
At least 10,000 were present Monday night for the deafening finale — a pyro-laced downtown performance by Hairball — of Jefferson’s rock-themed RAGBRAI overnight stop, “Highway to Bells.”
It was Jefferson’s fourth time as an overnight host town for the phenomenon that is RAGBRAI — the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — having previously hosted the riders in 1976, 1989 and 2008.
It was definitely the busiest RAGBRAI for Greene County EMS, said Marcia Morlan, who has co-owned the local ambulance service with her husband for 32 years.
They were dispatched eight times Monday, Morlan said. Luckily, however, no injuries were serious.
Police didn’t deal with anything out of the ordinary, either.
Jefferson was prepared for absolute anarchy, and the RAGBRAI committee paid for the presence of 30 extra officers, Wetrich said.
Jefferson likely had the biggest police presence of any city on this year’s 428.1-mile route, according to Wetrich, which began Saturday in Onawa and ends this Saturday in Davenport.
Basically, the riders came and did exactly what they were supposed to do: consuming close to 15,000 beers and 2,500 slushies.
“I don’t think we sold as much beer as we were hoping,” Wetrich said. “Regardless, it was amazing.”