Lottery a formality or what?

I’ve read many posts here, but maybe I missed one.
Is the lottery a formality? Do they accept everyone who registers? I’ve not read one post that mentions plans and qualifying it with, “if I am chosen.”
I registered late last year and thought I had to wait to hear if I was among the chosen ones. Am I automatically in, or do I have to wait for the first of May?
Yes,this is a super-noob question. Please be kind.

17 Replies

jpclark7, February 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm


I’m just kidding 🙂

Everyone who registers before the deadline is apparently in “the pool” and a computer randomly chooses (10,000?). From my understanding, you have to wait until May.

Hope I clarified some 🙂

Enjoy the weekend!


Cory Rood, February 18, 2018 at 10:57 am

My understanding is that as long as you have all of your boxes checked(registrations, waiver, payment) you’ll be in.


Uncle Kraig, February 18, 2018 at 11:55 am

Actually, it’s a good question; one I’m curious about as well. Let me ask it this way to the masses. Has anyone (or do you know anyone) who has ever gotten their application done properly and submitted by the April 1 deadline and NOT gotten their weeklong wrist band???

If “no one knows of no one” who has ever not been selected, I think we probably have the answer.


jelly0317, February 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

My entry was not selected twice, but (1) it was a LONG time ago and (2) I had no trouble obtaining a wristband closer to the ride.


Denton Kernodle, February 18, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Because I cant ride the whole week (time commitments) I signed up for “days”. Last year I signed up for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I got my wrist band in plenty of time. This year I have signed up for Wednesday through Saturday and hoping that I get them like last year. I talked with an official with the ride and they said that the “day” riders always get their requested wrist bands.


dalen45, February 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm

My entry was not selected about 10 or 12 years ago. It use to be some people were not selected most years.


RDaryl Daryl, February 18, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Yes it is a formality. However, there is a secondary market for buying/selling week-long wristbands after May 1 (not operated by RAGBRAI).

The following is from the RAGBRAI website under General Information/Registration/Lottery:

RAGBRAI is limited to approximately 8,500 week-long riders and 1,500 day riders. Entries can exceed the number of riders allowed, so a random computer lottery takes place after all of the entries are entered in the computer. You must register and provide payment in order to be considered for the lottery. Just because your check is cashed or your credit card is charged does not mean you were selected in the lottery. If not selected, you will receive a full refund in the form of a check.

RAGBRAI had too many entries over the past few years and has had to turn away riders in the lottery. The odds of getting in the lottery are very high, but certainly not 100%. Entries that miss the deadline will not be entered into the lottery.

The computer lottery can select individuals or groups of more than one person, so that people who wish to participate together are not split up. In order to be considered in the lottery as a group, the members of a group must register as a group, and appoint one person to be the GROUP CONTACT. That person accepting is responsible for sending one payment to cover all costs of the group, registering vehicles if desired, taking delivery of the group’s Participant Packet in June, and distributing the participants’ credentials and merchandise.

For week-long riders it is not on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone who completes registration process between November 15 and April 1 will be included in the lottery. Day riders are not subject to the lottery.


Denton Kernodle, February 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

Also, I have noticed that after the “week passes” are mailed there are a lot of passes for sell on the secondary market…that is where people sell their passes because it turns out they can’t do the ride but they have passes. I suggest that if you don’t get a “week pass” you watch the secondary market for passes. I have noticed that they are always available. I have often wondered it they all sell.


Michael Turner, February 20, 2018 at 10:50 am

R-Daryl-Daryl, “Day riders are not subject to the lottery”? First come, first serve? So all requests for day passes are granted?


RDaryl Daryl, February 21, 2018 at 7:20 am

Michael – Correct – Day Passes are on a First Come, First Serve basis.
Daily wristbands can be purchased through the on-line registration up to June 1 or on the ride (based on availability) as per the General Information/Registration/Daily Riders drop down tab.

I did a search for “Daily Wristbands” on the RAGBRAI website – The RAGBRAI Blog post dated 7/20/17 states (for last year’s ride):
You can still purchase day wristbands and non-rider wristbands beginning on on Saturday, July 22 at the RAGBRAI Registration Table in Orange City between 12:00 noon and 9:00 PM. You will find the RAGBRAI registration table at the Bultman Center on the Northwestern College campus in Orange City. All vehicle passes and week-long wristbands are sold out. It would save you time to download and fill out this paper form in advance. They will also be available for purchase during the week at the RAGBRAI Merchandise trailers and baggage trucks located in the main campground. DAILY WRISTBANDS WILL BE SOLD AT THE BAGGAGE TRUCK EACH MORNING FROM 5:00 AM – 7:30 AM.


KenH, February 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Pork Belly Ventures will try to connect their customers who don’t have week-long passes with riders who need to sell one. In the past they have said there are always more sellers than buyers. No guarantees of that however!

I believe that daily pass sales are limited to 1500 per day and they can sell out.

There are many here who claim to have never lost out in the week-long lottery. The few who do have never responded to questions about how timely and complete their entry/payment was. Some few claim to have been told that no complete and on time entry is rejected. Most of us have had no trouble and know that those who act quickly can certainly pick up credentials on the secondary market if the lottery fails us. Resold credentials can be transferred to the new owners name shortly before the ride starts.


Dockat, February 22, 2018 at 1:01 pm

So how do they get daily counts of 17 thousand??


jelly0317, February 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Oh God, please don’t go there!


RDaryl Daryl, February 22, 2018 at 2:17 pm

There have been no daily counts since trooper Cutts retired.
Maybe he was counting wheels instead of riders. . . . . . .


Randall Murphy, February 22, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Bandits!!!! There, I said it.


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