RAGBRAI riders enter Mason City. (KRIB photo)

Last week’s statewide bicycle ride RAGBRAI was a chance for some small Iowa towns to raise money for community projects.

The group Moms and Grandmas for Fonda used their stop along the route to fundraise for a new town basketball court. The northwest Iowa non-profit brought home around $600 in pickle sandwich sales. Organizer Judy Hess says every little bit will help them reach their $30,000 fundraising goal.

“Being able to bring in that amount of money in such a short time, it’s great,” Hess says, “and getting to meet so many neat people. It was a fun day.” Hess says she’s thrilled with how her community pulled together to make Fonda entertaining for the thousands of cyclists. Her non-profit will continue to host events like cow bingo and chili cook-offs to raise more money for the court.

Elsewhere, Nemaha raised nearly enough money to finish construction on its historical museum. As one of the stops on Monday’s route, the northwest town nearly sold out of the 400 pounds of marinated turkey tenders prepared for the event. Organizer Jim Hamm says that effort earned them more than $8,000 toward furnishing the museum. He says he was proud of what the town was able to accomplish.

“It felt good, it’s a good addition, but it’s going to definitely make a big difference to have that added on to what we have,” Hamm says. “This should come close to getting us done, I think.” Tired as he was after the long day of selling tasty turkey to cyclists, Hamm says he’d do it again in a heartbeat.

He hopes Nemaha gets another opportunity down the line to be on the route. Until then, he’s looking forward to the museum’s grand opening in the next year or two.

(By Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)