Madrid, Slater prepare for RAGBRAI

Emily Arthur

Iowa communities, Madrid and Slater, are expecting their populations to soar Thursday as hundreds of bicycle riders make their way through town as part of the annual RAGBRAI tour.

The towns are two of the many communities that will be visited on day five of the seven day tour across Iowa.

Madrid Mayor Pat Regan said the town is expecting the riders to arrive early.

“We’re expecting riders by 6:00 in the morning,” he said.

“Some of those people will get pretty antsy sitting around and will want to head out early. We expect riders to trickle in throughout the day.”

Madrid has activities planned for the riders throughout the morning with live music running from 7:30 11:30 a.m.

Regan said that along with the entertainment, there’s also another reason for the music.

“We’re going to have live music because we want to give the RAGBRAI riders a chance to stop, listen and visit with the people of our community,” he said.

Regan doesn’t expect the dedicated riders to stop, but is hoping the riders enjoy what they see in Madrid.

“All we’re really interested in is showcasing Madrid,” he said.

“We’re hoping that they’ll be a few riders who will be looking for specific things in town, and that they like what they see. Hopefully, they’ll want to come back.”

The Iowa State Patrol is helping provide the safety precautions for the event, but Regan said that the town participates in that area as well.

“We’re taking all the safety precautions necessary. We’ll close streets, we have people standing by to help direct traffic if needed,” he said.

“We’ll also have first responders in case there are any cases of heat stroke.”

After visiting Madrid, the riders will continue on their way into Slater.

Slater Mayor Gary Halverson said that although the town is not holding a lot of activities for the riders, they will have some.

“We have a committee who’s running everything,” he said. “We’ll have food stands, a radio station is broadcasting in town, as well as other things.”

Halverson said that there is one difference in how the town is handling things than in years past.

“This year we’re running the riders through main street instead of going through the edge of town,” he said.

“I guess it gives them an opportunity to see local businesses around Slater and experience what we have to offer.”

Both men said that it was an exciting time for both Madrid and Slater.

“This is an opportunity to show off our town,” Regan said.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”