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More European culture: This time, German

  • 25 July, 2011

Manning, Ia. — German culture was in abundance at today’s RAGBRAI midway point.

A giant German Hausbarn, or farmer’s house, drew in riders for its abundance of ethnic foods, beer and polka music. Most notably, though, a large corn maze designed to mirror the state of Iowa and the 2011 RAGBRAI route was etched on the historical ground’s edge.

At 2 p.m., riders were encouraged to make their way out to the maze and pose for an aerial picture of the design surrounded by RAGBRAI riders.

The maze designer, Bryan Muhlbauer, said that it took him quite a while to design and layout the three-acre-long corn maze but that the final product was well worth the effort.

“Everybody’s really loved it,” the 36-year-old Lytton resident said. “There’s been a good, steady stream of people.”

Muhlbauer grew up in Manning but is now a roads engineer in Storm Lake. His father, Allan Muhlbauer, tends to the fields surrounding the Manning Hausbarn.

Bryan Muhlbauer used software and GPS technologies to design and flag the maze, while his father and another man tended to the field maintenance after it was cut.

The group put in upwardsof 100 hours into the project. The entire community waited in anticipation for the first few photos taken from the sky.

“You just don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Bryan Muhlbauer said. “You just hope the detail comes out like you plan. We’re really happy it came out good.”

Several hundred riders ventured out to the steamy fields for the group photo.

“I didn’t expect to be here at the time of the photograph,” said first-time RAGBRAI rider Kristen Hanson, 47 of Denver, Colo. “I think it’s really great they are doing it.”

Postcards displaying an aerial shot of the maze were also sold on site, with all profits going to the upkeep of the maze.

“It’s a very cool idea,” 14th-time RAGBRAI participant Ed Nelson said. “We are sending a postcard home, and it is forever going in my scrapbook.”

After shooting some grins for the big RAGBRAI photo opportunity, some riders choose to relax inside the Hausbarn and enjoy the German amenities. Others escaped the hot sun and stayed for a few German rounds of beer for the better part of the afternoon.

Paul Wiedemann, 57, of Dubuque Iowa sat clapping and singing along to live, polka music. He even showed off his moves and danced to the traditional tunes.

“My wife hates it, but I listen to polka music every Sunday,” he said, smirking. “A guy could have a lot worse habit.”

2011 marks Wiedemann’s 29th RAGBRAI, and Wednesday will be his 200th day spent on the ride.
“Once you do one, you gotta do them all,” he said.


  1. jane

    I hope my girl gets a postcard, and got there in time for the picture. Her dad will be looking on line for her knees.

  2. Katie Wiedemann

    A source close to Wiedemann’s wife says Wiedemann does indeed have worse habits.

  3. Karen Wilson

    Guessing that Katie will also catch the Ragbrai bug. I bet that she listens to an occasional polka as well.

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