The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 17, 2009

Ready for riders: Local RAGBRAI Committee pleased with community’s efforts

OTTUMWA — Several months ago you invited 20,000 people to your place for an overnight stay and they’ll be here in less than a week.

Are you ready?

“We’re ready to go. All we need now are the [RAGBRAI riders],” said Pam Kaupins, one of three Ottumwa RAGBRAI 2009 Advisory Board co-chairwomen.

The committee is still working on some things, such as a stage in the Beverage Garden. Kaupins said Carroll Lumber will construct a stage there Monday morning.

All three co-chairs — Kaupins, Mary Beth Hammer and Janet Paulson — believe everything will be in place by the time the RAGBRAI 2009 riders arrive Thursday. They are only three of the numerous volunteers who’ve worked for months to arrange overnight accommodations, entertainment and food for the bicyclists.

“From Day One when we agreed to take this opportunity and challenge, we sat down and divvied up the jobs,” Kaupins said.

The board’s work has included a lot of meetings. The co-chairs attended about a dozen general meetings scheduled by the Des Moines Register committee. Then, each of the 19 committees had meetings and each one of co-chairs oversaw those meetings.

“It’s a conservative estimate, but I think we’ve had more than 100 meetings since February,” Kaupins said.

Out of all the contacts about RAGBRAI, Kaupins said the “No. 1 question” was, “If there’s a profit, where will the money from RAGBRAI go?’”

The three co-chairs don’t vote on where the money goes — the 19 committee co-chairs do. They’ve had voting rights on every decision made, according to Kaupins.

“Through that we set up a form and the 19 co-chairs could vote and nominate a nonprofit organization,” she said. “Today we don’t know how much money there will be. We want to cover our bills first.”

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