Hello Clarke Alumni,
I want to pass along to you that my week on the 35th RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) went very well. Although I did not ride a bicycle this time I have been a participant in the past, but that’s when it was RAGBRAI 13, and I was in much better shape!
My nephew Alec, and I, drove across the state of Iowa greeting riders and locals in each of the overnight stops along the route. As the riders came into each town we were there handing out FREE Clarke water bottles, meeting Clarke alumni and possibly Lance Armstrong.
The hospitality we received was outstanding. In Humboldt, Iowa we stayed with Dorothy Bormann Shomaker ’60 and her husband Jim. They joined us on the sidelines as we were handing out our water bottles, as you’ll see from the pictures. Later that evening we attended the St. Mary’s spaghetti supper with Dorothy and Jim. While there we ran into Paul ’90 and Susan Hunt Pfohl ’86 and their family. They were all decked out in their Clarke t-shirts! It was great to see local Dubuque people in Humbolt.
The next morning we said our goodbyes to the Shomaker’s and headed for Hampton, Iowa. Our hosts there were Fran and Gary Huling. We were greeted with smiles and welcomed into their home. Alec and I staked out our spot near the main entrance into Hampton. We handed out our water bottles hoping to get a glimpse of Lance Armstrong as he was supposedly on his way into town. Well, he came and went without anyone ever knowing. We held our ground until all of our bottles had been given away for the day, then returned to the Huling’s for a much needed shower and then headed back downtown for the evening’s festivities. Gary and Fran did not have a previous connection to Clarke but happily accepted the Clarke t-shirts and promised to stop for a visit the next time they come to Dubuque.
On Wednesday we made our way to Cedar Falls and the UNI Dome, which was the entrance for the riders and where all activities took place. It was quite difficult to find someplace to park and set up our area, but after some searching a couple of police officers showed us where we could park and set up our lawn chairs. We continued giving Clarke water bottles to as many riders as we could. That evening we stayed in a hotel. We were up and ready to hit the road again the next day, heading for Independence.
Once we arrived in Independence we found a great spot to park where our Clarke Welcome banner could easily be seen. As the riders started coming into town they yelled “Hey, Clarke University, my wife went there,” or “Go Crusaders!” One person stopped to say that her two nieces were coming to Clarke this fall. It was really nice to be recognized by so many people.
That night we headed to Dyersville, since it was a short drive and my parents live there. We spent the night getting ready for the final day of our RAGBRAI experience. We filled all of our remaining water bottles with water, iced them down and got ready for the big crowd the next day.
On Friday we were ready to give out ice cold bottles of water and the riders really appreciated it. We ran out of the Clarke bottles very quickly, but so many people were stopping I quickly decided to purchase some water and give it to the hot, thirsty riders, all courtesy of Clarke University. Overall, it was a great week of meeting Clarke supporters (and gaining new ones) at one of the nation's largest bicycle rides.
Shirley Mescher Brown '00
Director of Alumni Relations