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2009 RAGBRAI

Ring the bell, win a gun in Iconium

Iconium, Ia. — The church bell on the west edge of town beckoned riders to stop for pie, muffins and fruit halfway through today’s route.

Tugging in rhythm on the bell’s rope this morning in the entryway of the Iconium Methodist Church was Norm Vote, one of 48 members of the church.

“The trick is not to pull the rope too hard,” he said. “You don’t want to flip the bell over, otherwise you have to climb up on the roof to flip it back.”

Vote said the riders began to pour in at about 9 a.m., later than expected because of a thunderstorm that dropped hail on parts of the ride before 7 a.m.

Duane Hibbs, of Ogden Dunes, Ind., said he stopped along the route to measure how much of the dime-sized hail had accumulated, but he had one problem: Hibbs didn’t think to pack a ruler for the trip.

“Well, why would anybody do that?” he said. “One guy put his bike in a pile of it, and the hail nearly touched his bike chain.”

A block down the road, Jim Nelson, the president of the local Pheasants Forever chapter, was raffling a shotgun.

“It’s a limited edition of 200,” he said of the Browning pump-action 12-gauge, “and we just happened to get number one.”

Shotgun

Nelson said he had sold about $120 worth of the $5 raffle tickets by 10 a.m. He estimated that the gun is worth $1,500.

A nearby resident had a number of large craft items — including bird feeders and mirrors — for sale, but no riders were browsing. The crafts looked to be a bit too large to carry on the route.

– Jared Strong

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