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We can skip Kossuth county from now on.

My trip through Kossuth has been fine but they denied all alcholh licences from people like the craft beer tent and beer bus. I’m not a get drunk kind of RAGBRAI’er but i enjoy those stops and Kossuth county can puss off.

36 Replies

Groeny82, August 27, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Being from an overnight town and having several in the area that have been overnights as well I can kind of confirm some of the things T.J. has said. Granted, every town does it differently, but most towns that I know of make very little, if any, money on RAGBRAI. I don’t know about the county aspect of it but I would assume it’s similar after paying for road repairs in preparation and also having to pay extra police officer for working. Like I said, I don’t know how other towns do it, but our Chamber of Commerce formed a committee, that committee gathered money from donations, fundraisers, and other avenues. That money was spent on everything it takes to put RAGBRAI on, band, supplies, etc. The money coming in was distributed between all the volunteer groups that helped out during the whole ordeal after everything was paid off. So our town actually spent nothing from the city budget and made $0, the cyclists money was going to the church groups, Kiwanis, school groups, any group that volunteered to help. The individual businesses are what makes the money on RAGBRAI, not so much the town or county. And from what I gathered from T.J.’s post, the craft beer tents probably would have been granted a permit if they would have set up in a town. To me the fault lies on both sides, using security as a scapegoat is dumb because I haven’t seen police “policing” any of the beer stops yet so that point is moot in my opinion. But then again the beer tent could have just set up in town. I am a craft beer tent person, I stop at every one to punch my card and have one or two beers. It didn’t really bother me to buy a root beer for one stop then go to the country club for the last stop. To talk of boycotting an entire county (11 towns and over 15,000 people) because of the decision of maybe a small handful of people is crazy. And the other thing to think about too, they probably didn’t make that decision with malice on their minds as a “screw you” to the RAGBRAI community, they probably did it trying to help the towns and people in their county. I’ll admit, it probably wasn’t a smart decision and obviously not a popular one, they should let people decide for themselves if they want to spend money in town. But if you live in a town that has little to no tourist attraction and once every 10, 15, 20 years you have 20,000+ people coming into town spending money, wouldn’t you try to keep as much of that money in that community as you can? Why let it all leave when your town needs a new firetruck? Or a new pool? Or new roads? Or a new school? Can you honestly blame a town for trying to benefit from a once in every 10 year event? I’m not going to. But in the future I hope this vendor permit incident doesn’t happen again in any county. And to think, before the ride everyone was worried about how Orange City would handle the alcohol.


Groeny82, August 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Also, I find it a little funny that some people are implying that a county/town/group is money grabbing but then they say nothing about the crazy high prices they pay for stuff at the vendors. And most of the vendors are with the ride all week charging those high prices, the towns only have a few hours to make money and most of the time are cheaper than vendors. Who are the real money grabbers?


KenH, August 28, 2017 at 8:05 am

The state of Iowa has been putting this event on for 45 years now. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that we spend around a million dollars a day. Or is it more? SOMEBODY in Iowa has to be making money off us! And I’m ok with that. The money you enjoyed wasting is not wasted money. This silly bike ride has given me endless hours of enjoyment, I have not wasted a penny on it! Whenever I can I patronize local groups and businesses but even when I patronize one of the commercial establishments that follow the RAGBRAI route day by day they are mostly Iowa businesses and they mostly pay salaries to Iowans. Towns that may not net a penny from direct permit sales, etc, nevertheless do see a positive economic impact from the money we spend there and any money that doesn’t impact the locality for the most part does impact Iowa. Don’t let a few naysayers venting their frustrations here give you the wrong impression of RAGBRAI riders in general. We are very happy that RAGBRAI exists and that we found out about it. We had a great time this year! We think every town and county along the route did a fine job! We are going to demonstrate this to you by the most sincere means possible: We are coming back next year!!

But don’t be angry with the naysayers either. The people who complain to you, whether they are nice about it or not, are letting you know about the things that could be improved in their eyes. RAGBRAI sends out a survey after each ride to get this information. The naysayers on this forum (and we all say nay about something sooner or later so “they” are us!) are just giving you this information by other means. Take it to heart. Make use of it. Use it as an opportunity to double check what you are doing to make sure it is the best you can do for everyone concerned. You will always have naysayers but don’t let that fact lull you into the trap of ignoring them. They may well be the first people to let you know about something that DOES need to be addressed. They may well be the people who let you know about a problem BEFORE it becomes a PROBLEM. Don’t be offended, listen and consider and act if they raise a good point.


mootsman, August 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

I would be happy to return to Kossuth county, beer stops or not. I tend to hit only the beer stops and food stops that feature heavier foods that are towards the end of the day’s ride but that’s just a personal preference. Its all good.

And since most vendors have very few weeks they can make money it makes sense they charge a higher price. If they didn’t, they won’t be there. Although I’ve found many that are very reasonable also. But I’m used to the food trucks or lunch places downtown Minneapolis during the week. The Minneapolis prices are much higher.


Mike Murphy, August 28, 2017 at 12:10 pm

In my nine trips across Iowa I have seen little or no price gouging along the route. I have paid $1 for water, $2 for gatorade and $7-$10 for a church meal every year. I have never seen t-shirts for $30. in towns. If you see one or two stands that feel their product(s) is worth more please don’t condemn the entire state as price gougers. I find the people of Iowa to be very generous and kind. I have often said that if someone did the ride without any money I am certain that the great people of Iowa would take care of them. I happen to enjoy knowing that the money I spend is helping the small towns across this great state. I hope to do this for many more years and plan to spend lots of money as I enjoy the people, sites and challenges Iowa has to offer.


Groeny82, August 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I hope no one took my posts as me taking offense to any previous comments or nay saying any of the other vendors. I’m a resident of a past overnight town and hopefully an overnight town again in the future. I’m also a week long rider. My attitude towards everything on the ride is “it is what it is.” As Ken mentioned, a vast majority of the vendors are Iowa vendors and most of that money stays in Iowa. I try to spend my money at the local town businesses and groups but I do buy stuff from vendors too. I’ll spend $6 for a Meyer brat because they are the best brats around, I’ll spend $5 for one glass of craft beer because it tastes good and the environment is hard to beat even though I can buy a whole 6 pack of the same beer for just a couple dollars more. There are a few other vendors I buy from as well and even though I can get everything cheaper from a grocery store, I pay the price they want because I like their product and there is the convenience factor of having them right there too. Even though the prices aren’t cheap by some standards they aren’t overly expensive either, my only point was you can’t completely fault a northwest Iowa or northeast Iowa community for wanting to keep as much of that money in their immediate community as they can rather than have it go to a vendor from Des Moines or Davenport and have those owners spend that money over in their hometown area. I just don’t want out of state people thinking that there are city or county officials getting rich off this deal, if the city/county does make money, it goes towards improvements in that community, not in someone’s pocket. I used the way our town did it as an example to give people an idea as to how one town does it. I’m sure there are other towns that use money from the city budget and then any proceeds go back into the city budget, but again, it’s not going into a couple city officials pockets, it’s going into community improvements that they might not have had the funds for previously. I like all the vendors, commercial and local, because I like the different options, I’m just not going to get upset about a community trying to make some money to pay for things that it needs. And I don’t think it will be a problem in the future, if it happens more the RAGBRAI community will start speaking up and then I’m sure T.J. and the RAGBRAI committee will advise these communities that it might not be in their best interest to start restricting some of these things.


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