Ventura Iowa becomes a surprise hot spot for RAGBRAI - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ventura Iowa becomes a surprise hot spot for RAGBRAI

VENTURA, Iowa (KTTC) --  The town of Ventura has a population of just over 700 people, but when the RAGBRAI bike ride through Iowa comes to town, the population really explodes.

"Main Street and East Lake Street, basically the four-way intersection, there's probably more people at that location than in the whole town that lives here," says Ventura resident Andy Linahon.

The stop on the journey across Iowa is quite the hot spot with many riders stopping to take pictures in front of the town's welcome sign. "We stopped in Ventura because at work, my first names Jesse, and we have guys at work that call me Jesse Ventura, or Ventura," says Jesse Kuehnhold who rides for Team Interstate Batteries.

Thousands of riders roll through town it can create quite a scene. "You couldn't even walk in here everybody was about running you over, and my yard was packed.  You couldn't see anything of my yard or anything," says Ventura resident Brenda Simmer.

The group consumes nearly everything in sight. "Well they have been running out of brats, they have been running out of biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls and watermelon.  They have really been running out of food fast," says Simmer. All while dancing and strutting their stuff to the small town's delight. "The locals are great we stopped maybe three to four times at different places and got free bananas and free water. Everybody is real welcoming, just that great Iowa small town hospitality," says Kuehnhold.

For one day it gives the town a jolt to local businesses. "It will boost the economy for the whole RAGBRAI route. It really boosts the economy for the Ventura and Clear Lake area," says Linahon.

It's a chance for the residence to raise there arms high as a vital part of this great Iowa tradition.
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