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Ragbrai 53

RAGBRAI 2017 in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Clear Lake is backing its neighbor’s bid to host RAGBRAI next year.

The Clear Lake City Council unanimously approved a letter of support for Mason City’s application to host an overnight stop during the 2020 Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa ride Monday evening during its meeting.

“I think it’s a great thing that we can do, and I wish them the best in securing an overnight stay,” said Bennett Smith, Ward 2 Clear Lake city councilman.

The letter, addressed to RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz, describes the relationship between the two Cerro Gordo County cities as complimentary, instead of competitive, and pointed to unique events and entities that operate successfully between them.

“Clear Lake recognizes and applauds the work of Mason City to rebrand its community to include arts, cultural activities, learning about the history of the community, and ensuring activities for all ages,” the letter said. “Additionally, the revitalization of the North Iowa Fairgrounds has been encouraging.”

In September, the Clear Lake City Council asked City Administrator Scott Flory to draft the letter of support to be voted on at its next meeting.

Clear Lake was an overnight host for RAGBRAI in 2010 and 2017, and was a pass-through community in 2014.

Clear Lake’s letter of support comes nearly two months after Mason City submitted its letter of interest to host an overnight stop during RAGBRAI for the first time since 2014.

If approved, Mason City would tentatively play host on July 22, 2020, to thousands of cyclists.

Main Street Mason City would work to facilitate the overnight stop, which was projected to bring about $3 million in revenue.

The economic impact of RAGBRAI — and Pyrotechnic Guild International, or PGI — was at least $3.5 million to $4 million, according to city figures released in October 2014 while the city paid out about $50,000 in overtime for city workers.

In 2017, riders stopped in nearby Clear Lake, Charles City and Cresco. Hosts will not be announced until Jan. 25, 2020, and RAGBRAI XLVIII will take place July 19-25, 2020.

The first RAGBRAI was held in 1973 when Des Moines Register feature writers John Karras and Donald Kaul went on a bicycle ride across Iowa. It started on Aug. 26 in Sioux City and ended in Davenport on Aug. 31. The paper announced the event about six weeks out and around 300 riders participated.

Photos: RAGBRAI 2017 across North Iowa

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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