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Let’s make this a great stop for RAGBRAI

In some ways, July 27 seems far in the future, but trust us, the 93 days between today and the date that the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is going to fly by.Before you know it, thousands of RAGBRAI riders will be making their way through Ionia, New Hampton, Lawler and Protivin as they make their way from Wednesday night’s overnight stop in Charles City to an Thursday’s overnight stop in Cresco.The good news is that all four Chickasaw County towns are already planning for the invasion of bicyclists, who will do more than just “pass through” our neck of the woods, for they will also take a lasting impression of Chickasaw County with them as they take part in the nation’s biggest annual bike ride.New Hampton also has the distinction of serving as that day’s “meet town,” which means in addition to all those bicyclists, we’ll be home — for a few hours at least — to hundreds of support vehicles that will meet up with their groups in our city.Our hope is that all of us — be it in Ionia, New Hampton, Protivin or Lawler — will embrace what really is an incredible opportunity to showcase our cities and what we have to offer.Yes, it’s going to create one of the biggest traffic jams in our county’s history, but if we plan ahead, we’re going to be just fine and be able to get where we need to go when we need to be there.To make this a successful venture, though, we need help. It’s going to literally take hundreds of volunteer hours to make RAGBRAI a success. The riders may only be here for a few hours, but they’re going to come into our towns with countless questions.It’s our job, as citizens of these four towns, to make this the best possible day we can for the riders, who not only come from every corner of the nation but also from around the globe.RAGBRAI hasn’t been to Ionia and New Hampton since 1977, and this will be the ride’s first ever trek through Lawler. The July 27 route is not particularily long; in fact, the 54.6-mile trek from Charles City to Cresco could prove beneficial for the pass-through towns. Riders will have plenty of time to visit each city, which gives us a little more time to make a lasting impression.We know for some — those who live along Main Street in New Hampton, for example — RAGBRAI has the potential to be a major inconvenience, but city and RAGBRAI committee members are working hard to make sure that they are kept at a minimum.What they need now more than ever is volunteers to help make sure everything runs smoothly. So take a day to sell your hometown and call the New Horizons-Chamber office at 641-394-2021.The help would be appreciated, and the reward is knowing that you helped New Hampton put its absolute best foot forward on a day where we can make thousands of lasting impressions

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