Saturday, January 25th 2014 the Iowa Bicycle Coalition hosted the Iowa Bike Expo and RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party. We had not been to the Bike Expo in a few years and have never attended the RAGBRAI party, so we headed to Des Moines, IA to see what it was all about.
Steve Mathews (President, Paceline Products, Inc) and I (Ben Woodbury, Marketing Manager) left Kansas City Friday night after work to head up to Des Moines. It is about a two and a half hour drive, so by the time we got there it was straight to dinner and then to the hotel to get some rest.
Saturday started early with a 7am set up for the expo at the Iowa Events Center. Mark Wyatt and his Iowa Bicycle Coalition crew did an amazing job with the event. It was one of the most seamless load-ins I have ever experienced (and we have been to a LOT of expo’s over the years). Once our booth was set up it was time to grab something quick to eat and get ready for the show to open at 10am.
The show itself was a lot of fun, many familiar faces in neighboring booths and a steady stream of traffic for most of the day. It was great to talk to so many RAGBRAI riders, many of whom were familiar with our products and some that were not. The ladies were all really happy to learn about our new Her’ Chamois Butt’r, the first ever chamois cream pH balanced specifically for women. Another popular item was our Sports Kit Wash. This hand washing detergent for technical fabrics is perfect for a multi-day event like RAGBRAI.
The expo wrapped up at 5:30 and the place emptied out pretty quickly. We packed up the booth and set out to find some local fare to replenish ourselves before getting ready to party with the RAGBRAI crew, and 1200 of their closest friends! The party was sold out!
After enjoying a nice meal and a quick trip back to the hotel to change, we returned to the Iowa Events Center for the much anticipated RAGBRAI Announcement Party. It was held in the Grand Ballroom on the fourth floor of the building. The room was enormous and they needed every inch of it. With 1200 guests, a full band on stage, dance floor, live-stream interview station, photo booth, 4 or 5 food stations, multiple bars AND a large silent auction it was quite the sight to behold. It was lots of fun to see peoples’ reactions when their home towns were announced as host cities. I also found it amusing that the shorter ride days got MUCH louder applause than the longer ride days. T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director and friend of Chamois Butt’r, did a fantastic job hosting the evening.
Full Schedule of Overnight Host Towns:
Rock Valley – Okoboji – Emmetsburg – Forest City – Mason City – Waverly – Independence - Guttenberg
All in all it was a fantastic trip to Des Moines. All the RAGBRAI talk brought a little bit of summer warmth to an otherwise frigid midwestern weekend. Really looking forward to seeing everyone again in Rock Valley, Iowa July 19th at the RAGBRAI Expo!