Host Families Still Needed for RAGBRAI®
June 18, 2009
OTTUMWA-Where can you meet a chef who speaks Spanish and Swahili, a chocolatier, and a retired teacher who is a brain tumor survivor? All these people and more are part of the 10,000 bike riders that will spend the night in Ottumwa as part of RAGBRAI® on Thursday, July 23.
Many riders and "teams" seek alternative housing options away from the main campground during their overnight stay. "Many would rather stay in people's homes or yards," according to housing co-chair Joan Fall. "They enjoy Iowa's hospitality"
"Many people feel they relax better and want to get away from the noise of the main campground," added co-chair Sherry North.
Whatever the reason, Fall and North have been busy fielding requests and seeking Ottumwans willing to host riders. To date, they have already placed over 60% of the requests. But requests are still coming in and there is more need than local hosts.
And the deadline is looming. Riders not placed by early July will be told they need to stay in the main campground.
"Hosting riders is a great way to meet new people," said Fall. "It's also a way for local residents to enjoy RAGBRAI® without ever getting on a bike"
Over 70 requests still need to be placed with local families. Requests include:
- A chef needs a place for eight tents
- An economist and chocolatier need space for four tents
- Team Make A Wish has five people who will cook for their host
- Someone from the 101st Airborne needs space for two tents
- Team Vail Mountaineers has four couples
- Team Farm Kids Gone Bad has two riders and needs parking for an SUV
- Team Fat Tire include three lifelong friends who are 50
- Team Silver Streak include two people seeking two beds and have ridden RAGBRAI® 17 times.
Many riders seeking alternative housing have been placed at Indian Hills. According to Fall, there is space for approximately 200 riders in the Tom Arnold Net Center, and over 80 single and double rooms. Most rooms have been filled.
North and Fall agree it is easy to host. Hosts simply need some yard space and access to a shower in most cases. "Neighborhoods can get together to host groups too," said North. "Residents have the opportunity to meet people from every state and over 40 countries"
"Residents can custom order their riders," said Fall. "If a host has a particular interest, we try to pair them with riders who match" Residents can also be assured that all riders will contact their host family prior to RAGBRAI®.
Residents interested in hosting can find information at ottumwaragbrai.com and clicking the housing link or contact Fall and North directly. Joan Fall can be reached at 814-3956 and Sherry North at 777-4674.