WAUKEE, Iowa, June 23, 2018 -- When you're holding a public event in very hot weather, like the "BACooN RIDE 5" last Saturday, June 16, you are really going to stress law enforcement, first responders, cooks, food servers and other adults.
It is difficult to take care of 2,700 or more bicycle riders when the temperatures are soaring into the mid to upper 90s and there are very challenging winds, especially when they are scattered all over a 72-mile loop route.
On this particular event, kids stepped up to help big time, too.
"The real heroes of the ride were Troop 182 of the Boy Scouts, from Ankeny," said Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, which co-sponsors the BACooN RIDES with RAGBRAI and the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. "They staffed 47 intersections (of the Raccoon River Valley Trail and county roads). It took 94 of the scouts, their leaders and other volunteers to do that. They provided first aid, called sag wagons for riders who needed them, sold water and Gatorade. And some of them stayed on duty until 8 p.m. to make sure riders got in safe."
One of the members of Boy Scout Troop No. 182, of Ankeny, helping a rider with a cold drink at one of the Raccoon River Valley Trail’s intersections with a gravel road on the BACooN RIDE.
That means some were on duty for 12 hours or more.
T.J. Juskiewicz, director of RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register, said he agrees with Wyatt's assessment of the important role the scouts had.
Wyatt said the BACooN RIDE administrative team paid $250 to Troop 182 for each of the intersections where the scouts directed traffic and handled the other chores.
"That was an $11,750 fundraiser that will pay for summer camp for the scouts," Wyatt said.
Money well-spent by the bike ride organizers -- and well-earned by the scouts, too!
Iowa State Patrol trooper Tom Clark, of Waukee, directing BACooN RIDE traffic crossing Iowa Highway 141 just south of Herndon.