Cup of steel to draw appeal

By ANDREW POTTER – Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican.
Call it a monument, a sprinkler or just a marvel. Whatever it is, the local RAGBRAI stop now has a focal point – a 7.5-foot, 300-pound steel cup with the local logo and theme.

The red cup was the idea of LeRoy Morford, but it took a community effort to produce.

Ryerson Iowa Market donated the steel, Central Iowa Machine rolled and welded the steel, Morford painted it and Sign Creations put on the lettering and logo.

It epitomizes Marshalltown’s theme of “Proceed to Party” with a nod to the country song “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith.

“You would not believe the number of hours and time involved in this project,” Morford said. “It’s a big community effort.”

The cup will be placed on the road in front of Great Western Bank at the corner of Main Street and First Avenue for the July 25 event as more than 20,000 riders arrive in town. Aside from being a good place to take a photo, the cup will also serve a purpose.

Morford plans to install an oscillating sprinkler on top of the structure that will spray water on riders to help them cool off.

Shannon Espenscheid, director of the Marshalltown Convention and Visitors Bureau, got her first look at the cup Tuesday and loved it. She expects it to be a hit with the riders who visit town.

“I think they are going to think it’s awesome,” Espenscheid said. “They are going to stop and take pictures, and they are going to cool off.”

Morford also produced large wooden signs with the red Solo cup and the local logo that will be placed along the route. He said the steel cup turned out better than he originally expected.

“I’m very happy with it,” he said.

Overall, Espenscheid said RAGBRAI plans have been going well. Soon, they will go from the planning stage to the execution stage.

“Now, it’s just a matter of setting up,” she said.

Espenscheid said they are expecting the bulk of the riders to arrive in town from Webster City between 2 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Winner Announced for RAGBRAI Kids’ Art Contest

Three aspiring artists have been recognized as place winners in the Marshalltown RAGBRAI art contest for kids in grades kindergarten through fifth. Young artists were asked to submit artwork which followed the theme “Marshalltown, You Are My Friend.” Winners were Dakota Curley, a third grade student at St. Mary’s Elementary in first place; Lucas Stout, a fourth grade student at Hoglan Elementary, in second place; and Marcus Barker, a second grade student at Hoglan Elementary, was awarded third place. Cash prizes of $25, $15, and $10 were awarded to the local winners. Curley’s artwork was a three-dimensional clay sculpture which featured Marshalltown icons Taylor’s Maid-Rite, the Public Library, a baseball diamond, and the local bike trails. Additionally, Curley’s winning entry is competing against the winners from Sioux Center, Lake View, Webster City, Cedar Rapids, Anamosa, and Clinton, the six other overnight RAGBRAI towns, in the Des Moines Register’s state-wide contest. The contest is now live on the newspaper’s website and open for voting to online readers through Wednesday, July 25th at 5 p.m. Curley is currently in first place. The winning artist will receive a grand prize of $350 from RAGBRAI and will be announced during the ride next week. To vote, visit:

Marshalltown RAGBRAI in Need of Volunteers

The Marshalltown RAGBRAI Volunteer & Housing Committees are still seeking individuals in the community who would like to get involved by volunteering during the ride’s overnight stay or by hosting riders at their homes.  “We are looking for people who want to volunteer on one of many different committees as well as local residents who are willing to host registered riders in their homes or in their yards.  We have heard from several riders and teams and the common theme among them all is how EXCITED they are to come and enjoy Marshalltown and the festivities!”  Volunteer & Housing Committee Co-Chair Erick Eggers said. “We have been able to place 69 teams (160 people).  But we still need more hosts who want to experience RAGBRAI and the riders that make it what it is!”  There are still about 170 teams (631 people) who are looking for an area host to stay with.

The Volunteer & Housing Committees are also seeking individuals who are willing to contribute some volunteer time at one of the Information Centers around town, any of the three Campground locations, the Beverage Garden, with Public Safety, the Sanitation crew, and more.  “Hosting RAGBRAI for an overnight stay allows Marshalltown a unique opportunity to showcase our community and what it has to offer, however, it does also requires a great deal work,” Co-Chair Allison Vaughn said, “We need the help of the community and the people that live in it to come together and help make this a great experience for everybody.” Eggers stated, “All volunteers will receive a FREE Marshalltown RAGBRAI T-Shirt for their service as well.  Currently the Volunteer Committee has about 170 registered volunteers but  we still need a lot more.”

To volunteer in Marshalltown on July 25th or to host RAGBRAI riders the same day please go to the Marshalltown RAGBRAI website: and fill out the “Housing Host Application” or the “Volunteer Recruitment Form” under the “I AM A…Resident” section.

For additional information regarding Housing & Volunteering, E-mail committee Co-Chairs, Erick Eggers and Allison Vaughn at

Full Slate of Entertainment Scheduled for RAGBRAI

The Marshalltown RAGBRAI Entertainment Committee has announced its entire line up of musical acts for the ride’s overnight stop in Marshalltown Wednesday, July 25, 2012. The entertainment will be headlined by the internationally known Little River Band, but all acts will feature a local twist, including former local resident Ryan Ricks who is now the lead drummer for LRB. The day will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. with Moon Chaplin and the Magic Men, a local five-member blues/rock group. The Marshalltown rock trio known as CPR will play at 2:45 p.m. followed by the four-man cover band from Marshalltown known as JJ Ace at approximately 3:45 p.m. John Lukehart, blues musician from Marshalltown, will hit the stage at 4:45 p.m. Three Central Iowa favorites with very loyal fan bases each- Major Day, Route 66, and Loose Neutral- will be the featured evening acts beginning at 5:45 and wrapping up at approximately 8:30. The Little River Band will round out the evening at approximately 9 p.m. Entertainment will take place on the Marshall County Band Shell which will be located on the courthouse square the day of the event and will be free of charge.

Ricks spent a majority of his childhood in the Marshalltown and State Center areas. He attended Anson Elementary from 1972 to 1976 before moving to the West Marshall School District where he received his first exposure to music in the fifth grade. “I started music classes in the 5th grade at West Marshall and learned from Mr. Nason, I think his first name was Ken,” Ricks said. “He was a good teacher and also a good snare player.  He was the starting point for me and challenged me with more difficult pieces. I still remember all my childhood friends and most of my teachers,” Ricks added.

Ricks’ family moved around a great deal while he was growing up. He eventually landed in Tokyo, Japan with his family and graduated from high school while over seas. He returned to the States for college and studied music in Nashville, TN. He secured musical gigs with Lacy J. Dalton and Loretta Lynn for a few years in the 1990’s. Ricks eventually married, had a family, and drifted away from music to pursue a career in computer consulting. Last year he was contacted by LRB lead guitarist Rich Herring, a friend and former music colleague, about returning to the music scene. According to Ricks, “I first thought ‘no way’ but after thinking and praying and looking at schedules, I thought I’d give it a try…and here I am once again on the road.”

The Little River Band was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975. During their career they have sold more than 25 million records and scored 13 American Top 40 hits. They are responsible for such rock classics as “Take It Easy on Me,” “Lonesome Loser,” and “Cool Change.”  The current line up for LRB includes Wayne Nelson, Rich Herring, Greg Hind, Chris Marion, and Mel Watts, along with Ricks.

Kids’ Art Contest Underway for Marshalltown RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI Marshalltown Art Contest Flyer

Calling all artists! The Marshalltown RAGBRAI Committee is sponsoring an art contest for kids in grades kindergarten through 5th. All artwork should be 11”x14” in size and should follow the theme “Marshalltown, You Are My Friend.” Mediums of all types will be accepted from paint to colored pencil to sculpture. All works of art should be original and must include “Marshalltown.” Cash prizes of $25 for first place, $15 for second place, and $10 for third place will be awarded. Additionally, the winning entry will be sent to the Des Moines Register to compete against winning artwork from the other overnight RAGBRAI towns. The Register’s contest will be judged by online readers and will have a top prize of $350.

The deadline for submitting artwork for the local contest is June 1, 2012. All entrants should label the back of the artwork with the student’s name, age, school attended, grade completed in the 2011-12 school year, parents’ name, and contact number. Artwork should be submitted to the Central Iowa Art Association, 709 S. Center Street, Marshalltown. For additional information, please contact contest coordinator Janet Busch at (641) 753-9013.

Little River Band to Headline

By ANDREW POTTER – Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Little River Band will take the stage as the headlining act for the overnight RAGBRAI stop in Marshalltown July 25.

The rock band was behind hits such as “It’s a Long Way There,” “Reminiscing” and “Lonesome Loser” in the 1970s and 80s. It still has a big following on the road, as was the case during last weekend’s sold out show at the Meskwaki Casino.

“They have a significant number of hit songs,” said Mark Rohde, entertainment committee chair for the Marshalltown RAGBRAI stop. “The quality of the live music is still there.”

Rohde said the band, which was formed in Australia in the 1970s, stays busy on the road and he has been able to see them live a couple of times in recent years.

“They are a 70s band that can still play music like they did back then,” he said.

Little River Band is expected to hit the stage at 9 p.m. for the free show on the Marshall County Courthouse lawn July 25. Rohde said they are expecting to book plenty of local bands to play from 2 to 10 p.m. leading up to the headlining act and the whole day of entertainment will be free to the public.

“We want to book the best local talent that we can,” Rohde said. “We’ll be picking and choosing them over the next couple of weeks.”

Andy Rhodes did the production work for the recent Little River Band Meskwaki show and will do the same July 25. The Le Grand resident is also a fan of the band.

“They have great harmony and good songs and play a lot of their hits,” Rhodes said.

The band also has a Marshalltown connection as former resident Ryan Ricks has recently been hired as a drummer and has played four shows on the current tour.

“That’s kind of a neat connection,” Rhodes said.

For more information see their website


It is my great pleasure to welcome each and every one of you to our fine city.  We are happy to have you share our outstanding amenities and hope that your stay here will be rewarding and lots of fun.  We intend to make this stop the best on your trip across Iowa.

Marshalltown is a vibrant city with fine parks and recreation opportunities.  We have miles of trails that can take you to the GrimesFarm Conservation Center and where there is a beautiful display of Iowa flora and fauna in 160 acres of prairies, timber, wetland prairie potholes and conservation farming.  That is, of course, if you aren’t tired of riding a bicycle yet.

You may also enjoy the facilities of our Community Y and will certainly want to visit the world famous Big Treehouse located at 2370 Shady Oaks Road.  It is a 12-level, six story structure, which is a magnet for young and old alike.  Marshalltown is also the location of the beautiful Iowa Veterans Home, the grounds and facilities of which have recently undergone major renovation.

Marshalltown also has a fine art gallery at the Fisher Community Center.  It houses an outstanding collection of original Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and a ceramic collection that is one of the most extensive in the nation.

We also hope you’ll find time to visit our historic Main Street and take time to enjoy our beautiful Courthouse and square.  In case you’re hungry, we will do our best to make a wide variety of food available for you.  Our restaurants are outstanding too.

We will make every effort to provide the finest camping opportunities possible.

On behalf of the City of Marshalltown, it is my pleasure to give you this initial welcome.  I hope you will have a great overnight on your RAGBRAI experience.  If there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.


Gene L. Beach
City of Marshalltown, Iowa