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RAGBRAI® hires new director of operations based in Iowa to manage logistics

  • 10 January, 2022
  • Anne Lawrie

Des Moines, Iowa – January 10, 2022 – RAGBRAI®, Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, hires Matt Phippen, Iowa native and longtime friend of RAGBRAI, as the director of operations.

Phippen, formerly a sales leader at Scheel’s Iowa City, has participated in RAGBRAI indirectly and directly since 1990 when his family hosted riders in his front yard. He rode his first RAGBRAI in 1998 and has since participated as a vendor, served on a town planning committee, and most recently served as a sponsor and pre-ride advisor.

“RAGBRAI has been a major part of my life since I was 10 years old,” said Phippen. “I am honored to play a part in this iconic ride, tell the story of Iowa communities, and get more people on bicycles so we can continue the legacy of RAGBRAI for years to come.”

As the director of operations Phippen will oversee the day-to-day logistics of RAGBRAI including route planning and logistics, town planning, and partner relationships with city, state and county officials, law enforcement, and medical personnel.

Dieter Drake, who joined RAGBRAI in December of 2019 and lead the team through a global pandemic and a successful RAGBRAI event in 2021, has been elevated to events operation director over the cycling division for Ventures Endurance, a subsidiary of Gannett’s USA TODAY Ventures event team. He will work closely with Phippen and the Iowa team as an advisor while he leads the day-to-day operations for Ventures Endurance’s newly acquired Ride the Rockies bicycling event in Colorado where he lives.

“Matt brings a lifetime of RAGBRAI passion and enthusiasm and we’re happy to have him as part of the RAGBRAI family,” said Drake. “We’re expecting him to contribute immediately to RAGBRAI and to succeed in our mission to produce safe and successful bicycling events while bringing value and excitement to communities across the state of Iowa.”

Phippen rounds out a six-person full time RAGBRAI team based in Iowa. Preparation for the 2022 ride is already under way with the route being announced on Friday, January 28th at the annual RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party at Hy-Vee Hall. Tickets for the event are on-sale at

About Us

RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest recreational touring bicycle ride in the world. Started in 1973 by Des Moines Register reporters John Karras and Donald Kaul, RAGBRAI is a seven-day bicycle tour that goes from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River with stops in overnight towns along the way.   One of the largest tourism events in the country, a 2008 study by the University of Northern Iowa estimates RAGBRAI’s economic impact between $24 million to $25 million for the weeklong ride.

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Media Contact:
Anne Lawrie
Marketing Director, RAGBRAI

Email: Phone: (773) 562-9337


  1. Randall Murphy

    Shame on the person that proofed this article. The founders were John Karras and Donald KAUL.

  2. Robert Grimes

    Geez Randall, is this really deserving of “Shaming” someone over? A helpful , friendly “FYI” would do the trick. Let’s all be a little kinder to one another. Have a great Day.

  3. Randall Murphy

    Ok…maybe shame was a bit harsh, maybe a lot harsh, but come on, we should get their names right. But in the true spirit of Ragbrai, if I see this person this year I’ll buy then a beer and we can joke about it, maybe hug and have a moment of silence and then continue on another great ride.

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