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RAGBRAI XXXIX: Don Benson Memorial Ride

  • 24 June, 2011
  • Jared

Boone to Host Ceremony to Honor Benson on RAGBRAI

The Des Moines Register, RAGBRAI and the family of the late Don Benson are proud to announce that RAGBRAI XXXIX will be dedicated to the memory of the Wagonmaster, Don Benson.

Benson, the longtime RAGBRAI leader who passed away in May, will always be remembered as the logistics man for the first 19 RAGBRAIs. 

 “There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for anybody,” said his daughter, Nancy Riederer. “RAGBRAI was just something he enjoyed doing, seeing Iowa and all the people. He didn’t know a stranger.”

Benson wore paths across the state’s highways and county roads during his 27 years in The Des Moines Register’s promotions department. But his favorite mode of transportation was railcar. The grandson of a depot agent, the Nebraska native was a member of several railroad fan clubs.

Combining his passions, RAGBRAI will officially dedicate this year’s ride to Don Benson on Tuesday, July 26 at the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum.  Great memories of Don will be shared beginning at 5:00 pm in front of the green “Kate Shelley” Museum & Lounge Railcar. 

Benson is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jackie, two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


  1. Rein Winter, The Netherlands

    He will be proud by the idea the ride of this year is carrying his name. This is really a great idea.

    Besides Ragbrai Don organised several bike trips across The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden (his great grandparents came from Sweden and were named Bengtson)

    Rein and Rosa Winter, Almere, The Netherlands

  2. brad ellis

    why is it you have to die to be memorialized, should hvw been done while he was alive.

  3. Joe Hildebrand


    I understand what you mean, but my grandfather was a type of person that never wanted the spot light even though he was often shined on him. He never wanted attention based on doing something he loved to do just out of the kindness of his heart

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