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Quad Cities to Host 50th Anniversary of RAGBRAI Today

This year marks the golden anniversary of RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), and once again it returns to Davenport on Saturday, July 29, just like 50 years ago.  Visit Quad Cities President and CEO, Dave Herrell, along with staff members; City of Davenport Mayor Mike Matson; and Kyle Carter, Executive Director, Downtown Davenport Partnership; attended the official route announcement event tonight in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center.

RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.  This rolling celebration of Iowa attracts participants from all 50 states and many foreign countries.  The ride will begin on July 23 on the west side of the state at the Missouri River.

The first RAGBRAI was organized by Register writers John Karras and Don Kraul. It started in Sioux City and ended in Davenport. The purpose of the ride for Karras and Kraul was to ride their bicycles across Iowa and write columns as they traveled. Friends and bicycle enthusiasts joined the two Register writers for that first ride in 1973; 114 riders made the entire trip across Iowa.

Quad Cities to Host 50th Anniversary of RAGBRAI Today

Now in its 50th year, this will be the sixth time for Davenport to be named as the end town where riders will dip their tires in the Mississippi River. Most recently, it was hosted here in 2011, 2015, and 2018.

“RAGBRAI is one of the most unique events in the world and we are elated to be a part of the experience,” said Dave Herrell, President and CEO, Visit Quad Cities. “The Quad Cities is known as a community of firsts and we are proud that we helped start this tradition in 1973 and that we can celebrate, congratulate, and welcome riders to Davenport and the QC for the 50th Anniversary. The tradition and culture of RAGBRAI is special and we are incredibly grateful for the confidence that the event organizers have in us to serve as host.”

Herrell added, “Events like RAGBRAI are huge for tourism, brand image, and talent attraction. We will absolutely roll out the gold carpet for the participants as we showcase why Davenport, and the Quad Cities regional destination is best in class. This will be an amazing summer for big events and a great week for the region with the 49th Quad-City Times Bix 7 and the 50th RAGBRAI culminating on July 29, 2023. On behalf of the Visit Quad Cities Board of Directors and team, we look forward to working closely with the many partners and stakeholders required to make this a memorable opportunity. This is a community-wide team effort, and we will deliver.”


Having two world-class signature events happening on the same day again in the Quad Cities brings positive attention to the value of sports tourism in our regional destination.

“Davenport is honored to be selected as part of the RAGBRAI 50th Anniversary route,” said City of Davenport Mayor Mike Matson.  “We look forward to working with RAGBRAI, Visit Quad Cities and many others on this wonderful, historic event.”

Quad Cities to Host 50th Anniversary of RAGBRAI Today

Dave Herrell is president/CEO of Visit Quad Cities.

This year’s ride has a total mileage of 500 miles and a total climb of 16,549 feet.  It is the sixth longest RAGBRAI in history and the sixth highest feet of climb.  The deadline to register for RAGBRAI ends on May 15.  Register online at www.ragbrai.com.

“Dipping tires on the banks of the mighty Mississippi in downtown Davenport is a fitting way to celebrate those who blazed the trail on this ground 50 years ago,” said Kyle Carter, Executive Director, Downtown Davenport Partnership.  “We’re honored to host not one, but two iconic Iowa events as RAGBRAI and the Quad-City Times Bix 7 converge for a party that will also be one for the history books.  The Quad Cities are eager to welcome people from all corners of the world to celebrate this historic milestone!”

Since its inception RAGBRAI has hosted more than 420,000 riders from across the world and visited all 99 counties in Iowa.

Further information about RAGBRAI arriving in Davenport for riders and Quad Citizens will be found at www.davenportragbrai.com as this website will continue to be developed.

Quad Cities to Host 50th Anniversary of RAGBRAI Today

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Sean Leary Director of Digital Media

Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.

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